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Michelle Moses, pictured with her son, Ethan, sees the training as a catalyst for corporate change
Photo: Michelle Moses
An Italian organisation helping companies to value and utilise the skills employees learn as carers has launched in Luxembourg.
Maam looks at the spectrum of caring roles of employees, from childcare and eldercare and, through its life-based digital training programme, activates those skills in the workplace.
“We see it in all the countries, but mainly in Italy, that when women become mothers, they struggle to go back to work. Even if they go back, their careers fall apart, there’s a pay gap, they suffer,” Maam founder Riccarda Zezza told Delano. She believes that companies are missing out by overlooking the vast skills that both men and women gain from these experiences.
Zezza founded Maam in 2015 after an international career in communications and management in multinationals including Nokia and Microsoft. During her career she was surprised by the contradictory messages that companies sent to staff. On the one hand, they sought to develop soft skills through life experiences but at the same time did not value certain life experiences, such as being a carer. As an example, she cited her participation in a workshop for work, in which she used a flight simulator to test and challenge her crisis management skills. “I went home to my two-year-old daughter and thought, ‘this is crisis management practice’. I was doing it every day but at home there was zero cost, high relevance, high motivation and immediate feedback,” she said.
Zezza developed a training programme for individual employees but which also speaks to the leaders and managers and challenges mindsets. The programme, which aims to make employers “life ready”, focuses on 12 skills, which are developed at home but offer substantial benefits to the workplace.
To date, it has been implemented by 50 firms in 23 different countries with 5,000 people. “What we see with Maam is that companies who make room for these resources get a huge increase in resources, they can use many skills, energy, motivation, engagement,” said Zezza.
And in Luxembourg
British national Michelle Moses is importing the method to Luxembourg. After an international career in private banking, she settled in Luxembourg and in 2016 established The Connections, a work integration programme for displaced people in Luxembourg. Moses was already familiar with Zezza’s work but when her son, Ethan, was born, she said it resonated with her more than ever. “I underestimated how much it changes you as an individual and how you function,” she said, adding: “I looked in Luxembourg and realised there was a lot of talent. I’ve a lot of friends who are mothers and who struggle to get back into the workforce.”
And it’s not only the employers who undervalue these skills. Moses explained that her husband had interviewed people in the past who were returning after taking parental leave. When asked what they had learned, he was greeted with blank looks. “I think there’s a missed opportunity […] I think the programme is a very powerful tool to help them articulate, to say that becoming a parent has helped me with the following skills: delegating, empathy, understanding and challenging an individual.”
Moses sees the programme as a catalyst for corporate change as well as a bridge to help carers of all kinds get back into the workforce and “encourage and motivate them to be happier, more engaged and loyal to an organisation”. The organisation is currently seeking partnerships with Luxembourg firms to offer the training course to staff.