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Creating a Powerful Support System for Moms Returning From Maternity Leave

Returning to work after maternity leave has always been a difficult time for many new moms. According to a study from Maven Clinic, approximately 75% of new moms say they are excited to go back to work, but over 40% ultimately end up leaving their jobs after return.

The Women of Kellogg (WOK) Business Employee Resource Group in Latin America decided to do something to try to help. In August of 2020 they launched the first iteration of the Moms Coaching Moms program, which pairs mom "coaches" with new mom "coachees" who are transitioning back to work. The aim of the program is to give new moms a safe space to share their experiences, anxieties and to discuss coping strategies and tips with their coaches.

While the idea for the program was first brought forward by Carolina C., KLA Hire to Retire Delivery Lead Sr. Manager and WOK member, in 2019, before the pandemic, the timing for the launch was especially beneficial with the added stress of the school and office closures in 2020.

"It was awesome to have someone to talk to," shared Gaby B., KLA Hire to Retire Delivery Lead Sr. Manager, who was a coachee. "And to know that you're not the only one that is going through all those challenges, that there's not something wrong with you."

The WOK team partnered with a group called Momlancers, a talent agency focused on freelancers who happen to be moms, to help create program resources and content. The first round of Moms Coaching Moms included 16 coaches and 25 coachees across the region.

"Each of these moms had their own unique issues," explained Carolina, who spearheaded the project. "It became about how the community shared their experiences. We created a good dynamic where new moms felt supported and coaches learned from their experience."

The program is not only effective on a personal level. Participants say it also contributes to Kellogg's ED&I strategy.

"Retaining our returning Moms is an important element in helping the company build a workforce that reflects existing & potential consumers," said Kim L. HTR Global Transformation Lead, who was a coach in the program.

"As a global company, we have set a goal to reach 50/50 gender parity in our leadership team," added Gaby. "This program supports retention and creates ROI in the end.

With the early success of Moms Coaching Moms, organizers started a second round of the program in August 2021, and plan to continue expanding the groups to reach more moms in the future. They're also starting to involve people managers in the process.

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