As I mentioned in my previous blogpost, Finding Five Star Employees, we have been refining our hiring process at bookskeep. Part of that intensive effort has been to understand the 11 Universal Qualities of 5 Star Employees and make sure that our questions during the interview phase uncover the true nature of the candidate. I was struck by how many of these Universal Qualities describe us moms.
The qualities of Supportive, Limber, Listen and Learn struck me as vital qualities that we have in our role as mothers. It helped me realize that my strategy of hiring moms or people in caregiving roles was definitely setting us up to gain great employees.
The quality of being Supportive is demonstrated by being encouraging, caring, reassuring and understanding. Since many moms default to this supportive quality for their families, they can easily shift this quality of being supportive to their coworkers, clients, and others that they interact with in the work environment. Moms already have that muscle built, so they can easily apply it to others that are in need of support when they work in a culture that allows and encourages support of others.
The quality of being Limber is almost the definition of being a mom. We adjust to everything. The quality is more formally described as being ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances. No sleep because our child is sick, practice schedules for sports, school days off, you name it, we adjust. Not that we enjoy it, it is just accepted and expected when you are responsible for a tiny human.
Workplaces that want limber employees should also recognize the need for employees to have some flexibility too. It shouldn't be a one-way street. As an employer my motto is to give employees as much flexibility as you can so that when you have a need, they will want to stretch their limber muscle to help the business.
Be a Listener
The next quality of Listen is defined as listening with all senses. As a mom, don't you feel like you have all the Spidey senses tingling when your child is upset? You can look and know when their shoulders slump or their smile is fake. We listen to truly understand so that we can provide the best support possible for our children.
Listening is one of the most important qualities we can develop in our lives. Truly understanding what is behind the message, the emotion a person is feeling, is a gift we can give someone else and ourselves. When my dear neighbor Katie would walk across the street to see how my life with my newborn was going, she would say "So how are YOU doing?" She had made nice over my little one but the reason for her trip was wanting to be of service. Wanting to really provide some relief. I can't tell you how the question impacted me over the 5 years that we were neighbors.
No matter the challenge I was facing, sometimes even subconsciously, her question would get me talking and she recognized the exhaustion and emotion in my voice. She came back with an understanding so profound, that the solution wasn't important. What really mattered was that someone understood and could relate. This trait of listening to our children is hardwired, but again, we have the muscle. Practice using it with others in your life and this trait will make you a valuable employee.
Be a Learner
Finally, let’s examine the Learn quality. Learn is defined as actively seeking to learn more through a variety of resources. From the moment our children enter the world, you and your child are in Learn mode. Most likely it started during your pregnancy.
Our babies are exploring their environment and you are observing every response to ensure they are safe. You look for signs that they are hungry, or their diapers are dirty long before they can tell you about their needs. Even the most subtle facial expressions are learned, and we act on them to provide for their needs. Moms learn, it's what we do as we are supporting and bending and listening.
As I consider these qualities as part of our hiring process, I now have data about why my strategy of hiring moms resulted in a team of 5-star employees. I better understand why our culture at bookskeep is so collaborative and why our employees are so supportive of each other. I fell into this accidentally because I created my business to allow me to work while I raised my daughter. It only made sense to me to give my employees the same opportunities that I had.
This is a jumpstart business hack; once you identify what is important to you as business values, look for people that naturally gravitate to those values. If at all possible, consider how moms might fit into your organization and bring all those great "Mom Qualities" into their roles.