Have you had a job applicant whose resume wasn't up to snuff and had huge gaps between jobs (not explainable by the pandemic alone)? Was she not polished and poised? And did you turn her away--even though she could do the job--because if she cared, she'd be wearing makeup, have no scuff marks on her shoes, and have a perfect resume?
But, she doesn't have anyone to give her meaningful help. Sure (spoiler), she has a mom and brother, but neither can offer genuine support.
And that's where you, as a business owner or manager, can step in and make a huge difference. Here's what you could do to help someone in Alex's situation.
Help with childcare
Of course, I'd never advise someone to bring their child to a job interview, but sometimes moms have the option of bringing the baby or not taking the interview. This adorable TikTok is the exception, not the rule.
If there's a local drop-in daycare (lots of towns have them), arrange to pay the bill for someone to drop of their kids during the interview. Then let all candidates (not just women!) know that if they need childcare, they can make arrangements with the drop-in daycare, and the company will pick up the tab.
It's a minimal cost and could make a massive difference to your candidate and help you fill positions.
Suppose you can subsidize daycare, or partner with a daycare provider that will be open when you are open. This can also make a tremendous positive impact on a woman escaping an abusive situation.
Provide all supplies
Alex is literally on her last few dollars, but she has to buy cleaning supplies to take the job as a maid. Don't do that. Don't have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that require the employee to go out and purchase something. It's your business: You pay for it up front. Even asking someone to buy a new phone or a new computer and then submit a receipt for reimbursement can prevent someone from taking a job.
Provide EAP access from day 1.
Alex tells the social worker that her partner wasn't abusive because he didn't hit her or her daughter--he just punched walls. What Alex doesn't realize is this is abusive behavior, and he is abusing her.
Emotional, financial, physical, and sexual abuse are all real issues that your employees may face--and they might not recognize it. Someone leaving an abusive relationship needs an incredible amount of help, and your Employee Assistance Program can provide some of that.
EAPs can help an employee find housing, find a lawyer, and get therapy. As far as benefits go, this is a cheap one, and it can make a world of difference to a woman like Alex.
I know enough women who have left abusive marriages to know that Alex's story isn't plucked out of thin air. Women go through these things and worse every day. As an employer, you're in a place to make a real difference.