How Houston Methodist launched an ERG during the pandemic to support caregivers

MOMs of Methodist ERG creates a supportive and thriving environment in the workplace.

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A little over a year ago, I sat in a room with four other women who were all mothers to talk about how much our roles as moms had changed during a worldwide pandemic. The demands and expectations that were placed on us seemed to be too much. We were navigating a different world, trying to protect our families and our sanity. We shared our struggles, our challenges and our joys. Some of us were new moms who gave birth during one of the scariest times of our lives, while others were moms of tweens or moms of adults. During the conversation, we realized that there were several other women in our hospital system who also needed to be in this conversation. They needed support in the place where they spent most of their days. That day, we created the MOMs of Methodist employee resource group (ERG).

Collaborating with other departments

The ERG decided that our mission would be to connect mothers across the Houston Methodist Hospital system, highlighting the challenges that working moms face in healthcare. We would collaborate with other departments such as Spiritual Care, the Center for Performing Arts and Medicine, Employee Benefits, Employee Wellness and the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Clinic.

Working in collaboration with these other departments provided our ERG members with resources and tools that support their physical, emotional and mental health. Through these partnerships we were able to hold events that explored how to talk with kids about mental health, the importance of music therapy, the importance of setting a routine and building habits, how to address bullying with our children, how to talk with them about gun violence and tips for healthy meals. The support of other departments across our hospital system is key to our success.

Our vision for the ERG is to create an environment where working mothers can achieve success in their careers while providing care for their families,  so we provide networking opportunities and professional development that pertains to the needs of a working mother.

ERG leadership intentionally built relationships with our HR partners and career development team. This partnership has allowed us to bring content to our members that supports their professional growth while factoring in the demands of being a working parent. We explore small and time-efficient ways to develop professionally by introducing members to resources that our organization already provides such as the platform Percipio, Right Now Media, and internal resources on our Career Central website. We highlight our tuition reimbursement benefit and connect members to our benefit partners to help them jumpstart their next career move.

Seeking a strategic executive sponsor

Another key to our success was asking our former chief of human resources to be our executive sponsor. This partnership gave us a listening ear in the C-suite. We knew there were opportunities for us to make changes that could enhance the employee experience, which would have a positive impact on employee retention and recruitment. As caregivers, one of our goals was to increase our parental PTO which would support not only mothers but also fathers. This partnership gave us a voice at the highest level in the organization, which resulted in the organization offering four weeks, and doubled the amount of parental PTO for employees. We saw this as a huge win and only the beginning of making changes to policies that add value to the employee experience.

Since we started the MOMs of Methodist ERG, we created a safe place for mothers in our organization to come together as both supporters of the hospital system and individual change-makers. To that end, we are seen as a focus group for departments across our organization who want the voice of a mom at the table. Our ERG is fast growing and will only continue to build momentum as we continue to support the mission and vision of our great organization.

If you’d like to learn more about Houston Methodist’s support for caregivers including tips and advice for creating a similar ERG at your organization, Jocelyn Jackson will be speaking at the Employee Experience & Wellness Conference in Denver, August 14-16. Register now!

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