How to support your parent workforce
Parents are struggling. According to a new study by researchers at Ohio State University, 66% of parents with children under the age of 18 reported being burnt out. Those results are based on a survey of nearly 1,300 parents, and they paint a picture of the realities that working parents face when juggling the responsibilities of work and parenthood.
Unsurprisingly, many parents are quitting their jobs in search of more flexible work opportunities that can provide greater work-life balance. If organizations wish to retain their parent workforce, they must find ways to provide immediate support to this key segment of their employee population or risk high turnover rates that can create significant business losses. Below are four best practices that organizations can implement to ensure they are meeting the needs of working parents, and creating an inclusive workplace where they can thrive.
Parental leave is a common benefit that most organizations offer their employees. However, many companies still do not offer additional parental benefits after their employees return to work. Childcare benefits can be a valuable way to continue supporting working parents to ensure they can successfully balance the responsibilities of work and home.
It's a common misconception to think that childcare benefits would not apply to remote working parents. While working from home does offer greater flexibility, it can also be more difficult for parents since there is little to no separation between raising children, cooking meals, and responding to emails. Offering additional support such as a quarterly childcare stipend can go a long way in ensuring that your parent employees are able to successfully navigate work and home life responsibilities.
Consider reviewing your company’s definition of “working parents.” Does it include employees that are caregivers for their extended family? Many employees might also be responsible for caring for their aging parents, grandparents, nieces, and nephews. These employees often fall outside of company policy definitions of a “caregiver” and might not receive the same level of support as parents although their responsibilities may be largely the same. Review your internal policies to see if your company is excluding this segment of employees and if so, consider expanding the language so that all employee caregivers regardless of their relationship to the dependent, can receive adequate support.
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are a great way to support employees who share common needs, interests, or characteristics. ERGs offer a safe space where employees can voice their opinions, questions, and concerns around a specific topic without fear of judgment or retaliation. One way to organize an effective parental ERG is to have an employee who’s also a parent start the group and invite others to participate. Be mindful of including all team members in the invitation to join these groups.
While some employees may expressly identify as “working parents,” some might not discuss these matters at work or be expecting a child which they haven’t told anyone yet. Knowing that a parental ERG is available can help them feel supported. For more resources to boost your DEI strategy and promote a sense of belonging in the workplace, download our Modern Belonging Pt. II playbook here.
Access to mental health care is important when children have difficulty with life changes, emotions, or behavior. Yet it can be challenging for parents to find mental health support for their children. The lack of mental health providers in the area, insufficient insurance coverage, and the time and effort involved make it difficult for parents to obtain care for their children.
If your company provides employee mental health benefits ensure that the benefits also extend to dependents. This can lessen the burden on parents so they don't have to seek care for their children on their own. With Modern Health, working parents and their families have access to personalized mental health support, digital programs, and Circles to help them navigate through daily challenges. If you’d like to learn about our dependent care coverage and how we help you support your parent workforce, contact one of our experts today.
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