Today’s workforce is made up of millennials, Generation Z, and an ever-dwindling population of baby-boomers. This increasingly younger generation of workers value job benefits and paid leave over a simple increase in pay, to the point where 62% will leave their current job for an increase in benefits, which becomes increasingly important to employers as this same generation is in the process of having children and becoming parents themselves. At the same time, some 90% of U.S, families with children have at least one working parent, meaning that a significant portion of the working population is also a parent.
Taking steps to support parents as they go back to work, as they continue to hold jobs, and as they balance work/life obligations will make you a better employer. It will also increase employee loyalty, reduce churn, and likely boost on-the-job productivity and focus.
Increase Paid Parental Leave
When Google increased the paid maternity leave period from 12 weeks to 18 weeks, they found that the rate at which new mothers quit their jobs halved. A 50% increase in benefits resulted in a massive reduction in cost for the company, in that they didn’t have to replace those women.
Paid parental leave for mothers and fathers can be crucial in ensuring new parents have the support to care for a child through early periods so that they can go back to work without undue levels of stress. While this will cost the organization in terms of paid leave, it will pay off in the long term.
A study by Care.com found that 90% of parents have left a job to make room for family responsibilities and 30% have cut back on work. While offering opportunities to work less is beneficial, simply creating opportunities for flex work greatly reduces the stress on parents.
For example, if a parent can work from home if needed, work fewer hours one day, or change their schedule as needed, they can very easily take care of family obligations, work around picking up children, and work around child-care, without quitting.
Offer Daycare Opportunities
Daycare is one of the largest expenses for working families, but many organizations employ dozens or even hundreds of parents. Creating daycare facilities allows you to offer that care at no or very low cost to employees, at little relative cost to yourself, other than part time employees to manage children.
That same care, sourced outside of an organization, would cost the family $4,000-$22,000 annually. Providing it for them is a huge benefit that will greatly trump pure financial bonuses, especially in combination with convenience of location.
Develop a Culture of Family Friendly Behavior
Creating processes that support families and child-care is important, but without a positive culture, they won’t be as effective as you’d like. For example, managers and leaders must be trained to be aware of how their decisions impact an individual’s ability to parent, the demands of parenthood, and that schedules can and should be flexible.
For example, if you have a policy in place to allow parents to ask to work from home when needed, it doesn’t offer much value if your manager arbitrarily denies requests because s/he finds it inconvenient. Creating a culture surrounding awareness, emotional intelligence, and respect for people raising children will involve offering training, simply sharing information, and sometimes, offering similar benefits to everyone (such as flex work) so that it becomes part of company policy and culture.
With 90% of families including at least one working adult, most of the U.S. working population is made up of parents. Taking steps to offer support, help, and benefits for those parents, in ways that actually benefit them, will help you to increase loyalty, reduce churn, and likely reduce stress, which will pay off in increased productivity.