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Maternity & Family Benefits

3 Ways Employers Can Support and Engage Working Parents

October 30, 2017

It’s no secret that working parents are pulled in a million different directions. When juggling the competing demands of a career, parenthood, and household responsibilities, it can feel like they’re falling short on all fronts. To attract and retain top talent, organizations must acknowledge that their employees have lives outside of the office.

A recent Gallup State of the American Workplace report found that 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is "very important" to them.

So, how can employers help employees—especially working parents—better navigate and manage their work and home lives?

Realize it’s not only a working mom issue

The first step toward supporting working parents is acknowledging that working moms and dads are feeling the pressure. According to a 2015 PEW Survey of American Parents, more than half of all working parents say balancing work and family is difficult.

Additionally, the number of two-parent households where both parents work full time is on the rise. In these families, moms and dads tend to equally share certain household responsibilities. Organizations must expand their view of who’s on the hook at home, and develop programs that cater to the needs of all working parents.

Offer meaningful flexibility

With the right tools and technology, today’s modern worker doesn’t always need to be in the office and at their desk to be highly productive. The responsibilities of parenthood don’t stop between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Parents can especially benefit from flexible workplace protocols, including:

  • Compressed schedules (e.g., 30-hour work week at a reduced salary, while keeping employer-sponsored benefits)
  • Flex arrival and departure times
  • Work from home policy
  • Job-share program

Companies must find the right flavor of flexibility for their business and their teams. A great place to start: ask employees which policies would enable them to do their best work, during and outside of traditional working hours.

Promote the total package

Family-friendly policies don’t just start and end with employer-sponsored HSA and FSA benefits. Companies should offer a holistic view of all the benefits that support greater work-life balance:

  • Onsite healthcare opportunities - e.g., vaccinations, check-ups
  • Wellness programs - e.g., yoga, massage, meditation
  • Nearby/onsite fitness facilities
  • Work-life balance workshops
  • Parent peer support groups
  • Flex-work policies

Employers can and should do more to show they value the total lives of their employees. It starts by creating an environment that works for, not against, its workforce. The great news for organizations: showing support for working parents doesn’t require a hefty investment. And, pro-parent policies can benefit all employees in the organization.

Interested in learning more about how to support working mothers? Download our Motherhood in America report – a survey of more than 2,000 women asking what they want and value.

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