Learn how to support the working moms and dads at your business with these tips. Discover which benefits make a difference and can lead to better employee retention.
If you’re like most businesses in the United States, many of your employees fall into the working parent category. In 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the country’s 83.1 million families more than 78% have at least one employed family member.
Maybe you can relate: Balancing work and home life can be challenging. Many professionals spend at least 40 hours a week working. Striving for a work-life balance can introduce stress in the workplace, resulting in decreased productivity for your business.
A notable portion of the Great Resignation is made up of working parents. According to a December 2021 report by McKinsey & Company, parents were more likely to have left their jobs over the past several months compared to their non-parent peers.
When companies support their working moms and dads they automatically boost employee retention efforts. Here are 4 ways you can support working parents and improve work-life balance among your workforce.
1. Offer asynchronous schedules
Is the rigidity of a traditional 9-to-5 schedule really necessary? When companies offered remote work during the pandemic, many also shifted from a set time schedule focus to a focus on results. Asynchronous schedules that enable working parents to work whenever it’s convenient for them can be really helpful.
Childcare costs are rising, and LendingTree reports an increase in childcare by 5% to 7% from 2018 to 2020. With childcare costs for kids under age 5 accounting for up to 30% of the average American worker’s yearly earnings, some employees would rather quit than try to juggle the time and expense.
An asynchronous schedule can help working parents care for their children and eliminate costs like after-school care. A 2020 Catalyst study of 7,487 employees across the globe found women who have childcare duties and access to remote work are 32% less likely to state an intent to leave their job compared to women who have childcare responsibilities but no access to remote work.
If you have to bring people into the office, you might consider offering on-site childcare or subsidies for working parents. The Internal Revenue Service provides a credit for qualified childcare facilities along with resource and referral expenditures for employers.
women who have childcare duties and access to remote work are 32% less likely to state an intent to leave their job compared to women who have childcare responsibilities but no access to remote work.
2. Create an employee assistance program (EAP)
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) provide employees, and potentially their family members, with diverse types of help for everyday problems. Your business can partner with an EAP vendor or provider through your health care insurer. The EAP provider can offer employees services and counseling for issues like:
- Substance or alcohol misuse
- Financial or legal problems
- Child or elder care
- Adoption assistance
- Relationship challenges
- Wellness issues
- Traumatic events
Your employees may need help with various issues impacting their work, but they may not be aware of the help that’s available to them. Providing EAP services is a way to proactively address worker issues that could impact your bottom line. The EAP provider can connect with employees over the phone, by email, over video chat, or in person.
3. Offer paid family leave
Welcoming a new addition to the family is one of the most exciting — and time-consuming — endeavors your workers will ever experience. But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 23% of private industry and civilian workers had access to paid family leave benefits in 2021. The number rises to just 26% for state and local government workers. In fact, the U.S. is infamous for being the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee paid family leave.
Your company can be a leader in paid leave family benefits by offering them to all parents. A 2021 YouGov poll of 21,000 people found that 68% of Americans want paid parental leave, regardless of their gender. The poll also found that 82% of Americans want paid maternity leave, at the very least.
By offering paid family leave, you show your workers you’re ready to support their life choices, including decisions to grow their families while working for you. Again, if you don’t offer paid leave, consider providing childcare subsidies to at least help your working-parent team members manage.
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4. Provide growth opportunities
Your working parents want to learn and develop on the job just as much as non-parent employees, but it may be more difficult for them to do so on their own outside of work. Most professionals today want their employers to provide learning and development opportunities. But a 2020 study by MIT Sloan Management Review of 3,900 respondents and 18 executive interviews found only 34% of people are happy with their organization’s investment in developing their skills and capabilities.
Upskilling your employees is good for business, especially in knowledge worker industries with rapidly evolving technologies and skillset demands. Your managers can create career development plans with the employees they lead, so workers have a map of what they need to do to advance their careers. Enable learning and development during work hours, on asynchronous schedules when possible, to accommodate working parents.
Foster a safe space for working parents
If you want to create an inclusive company culture, you must acknowledge the working parents among your workforce. Regularly survey your employees to see how you as an employer could make their jobs more engaging and support their work-life balance.
In-house support or employee resource groups can give working parents a place to connect. Train managers to offer flexibility with both work schedules and in-office environments to accommodate working parents whenever possible.
Be aware that if you don’t support the working parents in your workforce, they’re willing to leave for a better opportunity. Your talent is one of your company’s most important investments, so make sure to cultivate it with working parent benefits that lead to successful business results.