The employee benefits and incentives you offer will impact how candidates view your organization and your culture. Different programs and benefits will naturally attract different kinds of people.
This is important to keep in mind when choosing which initiatives you offer, especially if you want to attract great candidates who are also working parents. Or hang on to up-and-coming talent that will likely be considering parenthood at some point.
Why it matters
The cost of child care in the United States can be the greatest single expense for a household, with in-home care averaging $28,353 annually. That’s huge. Now imagine how enticing child care initiatives might be to working parents or those who want to start families.
According to the Harvard Business Review, a company’s child care benefits (or lack of them) can make or break an employee’s decision to stay with his or her employer. Child care services and the support of an employer are consistently cited as top concerns for parents, and offering child care incentives is one of the best ways to recruit talent.
How employers can help
The following initiatives are just some of the ways to enhance your workplace for employees and their families.
1. Paid Time Off (PTO) and Flexible Scheduling
Flexible schedules and work at home options are often used to attract talent, but these things can also be pitched as a family friendly benefits for working parents.
Parents need time off for things like children’s doctor appointments, unexpected illnesses, school functions, and family vacations. Sick time policies may not allow for employees to be gone unless illness is involved. This mindset doesn’t serve healthy employees and families well.
Offering generous PTO or flexible scheduling benefits makes juggling work and home life much more pleasant for everyone.
2. On-site Child Care
A study in the Journal of Managerial Psychology found that employees performed better and came to work more regularly when using on-site child care, compared to those who used off-site care or did not have children. Similarly, in a survey from Bright Horizons, an employer-sponsored child care provider, 90 percent of employees who use on-site child care reported increased concentration on their job duties.
This option is likely expensive and would require considerable buy-in from the company. However, it addresses key concerns for both working parents and employers. Not only could it address absenteeism, it could be a “make or break” retention benefit for your workforce.
3. Child Care Referrals
If offering on-site child care is too expensive, consider offering resources to help employees find the best child care options for their families.
Any working parent knows the stress involved in finding quality, affordable care for their children during the workday. Consider establishing a resource network with your employees who use off-site child care. Gather recommendations and information about child care providers nearby and make those resources available to employees.
4. Child Care Subsidies
We’ve already determined that child care is often be the largest single expense for working families in the US. Why not help make that burden a little lighter?
Entice top talent by offering to cover a portion of off-site child care expenses if and when it becomes a need. Offering child care subsidies could tip the scales in your favor when employees and job candidates are weighing career options
5. Employee Assistance Programs
Many working parents have questions about how to balance their expenses or manage emotional stress, especially if they’ve just added a child into the mix.
Consider offering support for your employees through an employee assistance program (EAP). An EAP can help alleviate stress that affects employee wellbeing and workplace performance.
EAP programs can be tailored to your workforce needs. Beyond financial counseling, EAPs can cover areas like adoption assistance, elder care referrals and basic legal help. An EAP is usually paid for entirely by the employer and is offered to employees’ immediate family members as well.
Family friendly is employee friendly
If your employees are spending their days consumed with worries about finances and the welfare of their children, they aren’t going to be able to show up and perform at their best.
Healthy businesses need happy, healthy employees. And families.
The employee benefits programs you establish today can help retain your employees tomorrow. Moving your organization toward a more family friendly approach can be the first step in making this happen.
Need a better ROI on your corporate employee benefits? At Sonus Benefits, we’re not interested in just finding you a policy for this year. We provide strategic employee benefits and human resource management services to help you build a better future.