5 Tips to Foster a Family-Friendly Workplace
Throughout 2022, employee retention has remained as a top concern among employers across all industries. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the benefits of remote work, including increased productivity and employee satisfaction, however it also resulted in 1.1 million women leaving the workforce between 2020 and 2022 to care for their families. Subsequently, the Great Resignation inspired employees to seek better employment opportunities, which forced employers to self-evaluate and determine new ways to remain competitive in the job market while keeping their existing employees loyal and engaged at work.
Now, employers can start 2023 off strong with a New Year’s Resolution to become a family-friendly workplace. Employers that provide a family-friendly environment are shown to have 80% higher employee engagement, 72% increased productivity, and improved employee retention. Here are five tips to help employers make their workplace more family-friendly in 2023:
Fostering Work-Life Balance
Offering flexible scheduling and remote work is a simple yet impactful way to support working parents by improving their work-life balance. Fulfilling the needs of their family while commuting and working in an office is stressful for many employees, especially those with small children or elderly parents who need care. Remote or hybrid work can help employees balance their careers and families, reducing stress and increasing productivity. In fact, one survey reported that 77% of employees who worked remotely at least a few times per month showed increased productivity.
Paid Leave for Parents
Paid parental leave, including maternity, paternity, and adoption leave, is essential to a family-friendly workplace. To be most inclusive and effective, policies need to be extended to all employees, including LGBTQIA+ employees and those who become parents through surrogacy or adoption. Providing equitable access to paid parental leave ensures all employees feel valued while giving them crucial time to bond with their new addition to their family. As a result, employees with paid parental leave are often more likely to return to work, which can lower turnover and training costs for employers.
Support for Lactation
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months, followed by a combination of breast milk and other food sources for up to 12 months. For parents who choose to nurse their baby, the ability to pump and store breast milk throughout the work day is a tremendous resource. Employers can support nursing parents by providing paid breaks and access to clean, comfortable, private lactation facilities, which enables a nursing parent to return to work and continue feeding their baby their diet of choice. UNICEF reports that by providing these resources to nursing parents, employers are rewarded with a 3x return on investment by reducing costs associated with employee turnover.
Access to Childcare Resources
Quality, affordable childcare is both in short supply and high demand for working parents, making it an incredibly sought-after resource. More than half of parents surveyed in 2022 said they are more concerned about childcare costs than they were in the previous year. At the same time, access to daycare has decreased with nearly 9,000 daycare facilities closing between December 2019 and March 2021, according to a survey by Child Care Aware. Remote and flexible working arrangements can help to ease the strain on working parents balancing their careers and childcare, however it is not always a perfect solution for every family. Enabling access to affordable childcare is a crucial form of support for working parents that gives employees peace of mind knowing that their children are in good hands, allowing them to be more actively engaged at work. A great first step for employers can be as simple as providing information on available tax credits, government programs, and childcare options in the community. For those who wish to make an even greater impact, employers can partner with childcare providers to extend discounted rates to their employees, making childcare even more accessible.
Starting a family is a major life accomplishment for many employees, but pursuing fertility treatment, adoption, or surrogacy can be financially and emotionally draining. Offering WIN’s family-building benefits gives your employees access to the solutions they need while reducing strain to their finances and mental wellbeing. A comprehensive benefit that covers all employees, including LGBTQIA+ and single individuals, shows your company supports their heartfelt desire to have a family.
Specifically, more employers are expanding their support for complex family-building journeys, such as adoption. “Over 650 large corporations offer adoption benefits and over 800 companies globally now offer family-building benefits. This area continues to expand as employers seek to meet the needs of their diverse workforce by focusing more on holistic, family-building benefits that go beyond the standard health care benefit,” explains Kelly Ellison, Founder and COO of Vesta. Through Vesta, WIN members receive unparalleled 1-on-1 guidance from experts coaching employees throughout their journey whether it’s adoption, foster care, surrogacy or egg donor. The program includes access to online video libraries, educational resources and one-on-one coaches. Combined, WIN and Vesta provide future parents with the best-in-class solutions they need to make their family-building journey simple and full of hope.
Employers who are dedicated to making these non-traditional ways of building a family more accessible for their employees can receive official recognition through organizations like the Dave Thomas Foundation’s Adoption-Friendly Workplace initiative. “The Dave Thomas Foundation has been leading this effort for longer than any corporation and it’s appropriate to shine a spotlight on them and the hundreds of companies that have taken the initiative to create family-building benefits,” says Kelly Ellison. The Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list celebrates employers that provide financial reimbursement and paid parental leave as part of their adoption benefits. Receiving such recognition as an “adoption friendly” or “family friendly” workplace can be a great opportunity to gain positive media exposure, signaling to potential and current employees that your organization actively supports family-building.
Offering WIN’s full spectrum family-building solutions allows your employees to successfully pursue their dream of having a family, no matter what their journey may entail. Plus, incorporating flexible work arrangements, paid family leave, lactation support and childcare resources all combine to deliver a fantastic support system for working parents, making your workplace truly family friendly while doubling as a powerful tool to improve recruitment and retention.
Click here to learn more about WIN’s full suite of comprehensive family-building solutions.