Retaining Working Mothers in Japan – Part 1: Communication during Childcare Leave

In the first part of the four part series on retaining working mothers in Japan, I focus on how having smooth communication with your employee during childcare leave.

Find the rest of the series here.

Part 1: Communication during Childcare Leave

To facilitate a smooth return, it is important that the working mother on your team knows what is going on while they are on leave. Some best practices happening right now in Japan:

  1. Quarterly update email to all employees on childcare leave – sent by HR or direct manager.
  2. Quarterly catch up meeting between employee and manager.
    • This can take place via skype, facetime or another video conference app. If face to face, consider if you can subsidise childcare or time it to coincide with baby’s nap. The latter does not always work!
    • Agenda focuses on business updates from manager – results, projects, changes in team, career and logistics updates from employee – daycare applications, types of projects they want to work on, thoughts about schedules, development opportunities
  3. Invitations to company celebrations. Can you support childcare (partially or fully subsidised)? Retaining relationships and visibility will support a smooth return to work. Keeping working mothers connected is essential.
  4. Work anniversary is acknowledged via email. Remembering the small things is as simple as adding a calendar reminder.
  5. Back to work career seminar with childcare provided.
  6. Materning coaching for the working mother and the manager. These coaching sessions are held during the lead up to maternity leave, before return and in the first six months of return to work. (Contact me to find out more about maternity coaching services in Japan)


What does your organisation do to keep in touch with working mothers on leave? How do you keep things manageable and consistent? How do you hold managers accountable for the retention of talented working mothers? Please leave your comments below.

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