Family-friendly benefits are critical to employees, yet many organizations are missing the mark

When it comes to workplace benefits, do you know what your employees value most? It can be hard for employers to know what to prioritize as employees’ needs and expectations are constantly evolving. That’s why Ovia Health conducts our annual Future of Family Friendly Benefits survey. This year, we asked more than 2,000 working parents for their thoughts on their existing benefits, and how they could improve. 

Overwhelmingly, working parents are simply not getting the support they need. Sixty-two percent said their employers aren’t family-friendly enough, and over forty percent gave their employer an overall grade of C or lower. 

If retention is top of mind for your organization, investing in family-friendly benefits matter more than ever. Ninety-four percent of working parents told us that these benefits are so important that they are willing to move to a new company to get them. The data is clear –  a wakeup call is needed for organizations looking to improve existing benefits.  

Family benefits are table stakes —  and they’re more crucial than ever for retaining talent 

Among the employees we surveyed, nearly all respondents (94%) told us that family benefits are a top priority. This remained steady year-over-year — a clear indicator that family health benefits weren’t just a passing, pandemic-inspired fad. These days, employees expect benefits that support them from fertility, through pregnancy, return to work, menopause, and far beyond. And that includes all paths to parenthood, such as UI, IVF, adoption, or surrogacy programs.

Improved family benefits aren’t just a nice-to-have perk. Nowadays, employees are increasingly ready to take steps to secure them – 73% of respondents told us that they would gladly leave their current role for a lateral move to a company with better benefits and a family friendly culture. Even in an uncertain economy, solid benefits can outweigh the security of a long-term job.

As more employees look to expand their families, the demand for women’s health, fertility, and maternity care management benefits will continue to grow. It is critical to increase family building benefits at any organization, especially when it comes to including fertility treatment coverage that can support all members of your workforce. With 63% of LGBTQ millenials considering expanding their families, it’s important for organizations to ensure that all employees feel supported in the benefits available to them.

Survey details: what family benefits matter most to working parents

We delved into our survey to uncover employees’ sentiments about their benefits, their actual needs, and how employers can improve.

Longer, paid parental leave and flexible scheduling continue to be the top ranked benefits when compared year over year. Tangible benefits, like childcare support, maternity care tools, and mental health support also continue to be important to employees. This year, new benefits that employees are in pursuit of include pregnancy loss leave, maternity care management benefits (like Ovia+), fertility screenings & testing, and access to midwives or doulas.

One of the most critical findings from the report showed just how many working parents don’t have a firm grasp of what benefits are offered to them, or how to navigate using them. 45% of respondents gave their employer a C average or less when it came to understanding their benefits. These trends make it clear that, despite the efforts of the last few years, there is still work to be done in order for employers to fully support their workforce.

A new finding from this year showed that there’s a strong push from employees to have better fertility benefits through their workplace. 38% of respondents said that they are looking for their employer to provide alternative family planning support, and even more (41%) want their employer to provide fertility screenings and testing for both women and men.

Despite this strong push for more inclusive family building benefits and support for the fertility journey, the current state of support is grim:

  • 15% of respondents have access to family building services like IVF or IUI
  • 5% have surrogacy support 
  • 3% of respondents have egg freezing benefits 
  • 14% have adoption support
  • 7% have access to fertility and maternity care management tools like Ovia+

This lack of family building support impacts not only women who are waiting until their late 30s or early 40s to have a baby, but also impacts LGBTQ+ employees who often have a harder and more expensive time building their families. Without fertility benefits, more senior-level female employees who are increasingly hard to retain and whose leadership can have a huge impact on a company’s success may be eyeing the door for a more supportive workplace.

When it comes to other areas of women’s and family health, the numbers aren’t much better. 83% of respondents told us that they feel that their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms impact their ability to work, but only 1% of respondents have any type of menopausal support at work. 

Improving DEIB through inclusive benefits like fertility treatment, mental health support, return to work programming, and even menopause support is the first step in making sure all employees feel supported in their workplace.

5 steps employers can take right now to become more family-friendly

Based on the key findings from the survey, there are multiple things employers can do to boost family benefits and foster a more family-friendly culture. Here are the top five – download the full report for more.

1. Extend or enhance your parental leave program. 

Four months or more of paid leave has been shown to be ideal, but make sure it does not require employees to use sick leave or PTO before taking it. Beyond just providing leave, employers can boost family-friendliness by creating a culture that accepts — and encourages — taking family leave.

2. Make DEIB a priority.

Supporting DEIB at your organization means more than just having the occasional implicit bias training. It means making sure that all employees feel supported and welcome at your organization, and it can start with inclusive benefits. This wide umbrella includes everything from fertility treatment, mental health support, to pregnancy loss leave, maternity care management, fertility screenings & testing, and access to midwives or doulas. 

Another area that employers can help employees feel supported throughout their career is menopause support. The push for menopausal equity happens on many fronts, but business leaders have a central role to play in ensuring that women are supported throughout this time in their lives and it starts with inclusive, educational women’s health benefits that help build a welcoming culture for all employees.

3. Ensure your benefits are inclusive to all paths to parenthood.

Now more than ever, there’s a strong push from employees to have better fertility benefits through their workplace. It’s an important investment – over 1,000 members wrote that alternative family building support is important to them and a key factor for retention. 

Here are a few ways employers can boost family building support:

  • Offer better fertility benefits such as Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) coverage that includes preferred network specialist, co-insurance, a benefits card, or reimbursement program. 
  • Provide access to adoption and surrogacy support. With only a fraction of respondents having support through their employer, there is a real disconnect between what employees are looking for and what they actually have access to.

4. Make sure benefits information is accessible. 

Employees often don’t know enough about their benefits to make the most of them. Make sure information about benefits is easily accessible and easily understood. People can’t use what they don’t know they have. Additionally, consider a manager training program to ensure all leaders are benefits experts who help foster a family-friendly workplace culture where employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day without fear of repercussions.

5. Partner with a digital health solution.

An effective digital health solution connects employees to a team of board-certified experts who can help them through the biggest challenges of family building, from conception through pregnancy, parenting, return to work, all the way through perimenopause and menopause. An extra layer of telehealth alone isn’t enough. For the best ROI, choose a solution that’s personalized to each member, proactive about health screenings and risk factors, and responsive to key issues such as sleep coaching, breastfeeding, mental health, and more. 

Get the details from our latest Future of Family Friendly Benefits survey

Want to know more about the things working parents need to thrive — and stay? Check out the complete results of our Future of Family Friendly Benefits survey here

If you’re looking for a digital health partner for women’s and family health, Ovia can help.We offer 1:1 coaching with certified experts in lactation, parenting, menopause, and women’s health and wellbeing; physician-developed clinical programs; personalized health and wellness education; manager training; and benefits navigators so you can provide comprehensive women’s and family health support to your employees.