Are your benefits sufficient for working parents?

Michele Bell
VP of Partnerships
Cognoa
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The face of the workforce is changing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in more than 60% of families with children, both parents hold jobs, a number that continues to increase year over year. Combined with the millennial generation’s expectation of innovation and inclusion in the workplace, employers are hard-pressed to find new ways to not only make working parents feel included, but also appeal to potential talent.

If your company doesn’t provide sufficient support for working parents within the office, your employees are noticing. Cognoa, which provides science-backed tools to help parents assess and improve their child's development, recently polled parents to examine the relationship between their careers and their children.

According to the results, 44% of respondents believe their current or past employers lack supportive, parent-friendly benefits. If you’re still on the fence about expanding your current insurance plan to include additional inclusive benefits, below are two major reasons to consider making the jump.

Decreased absenteeism

If you’re a parent, you know the difficulties of work-life balance, specifically when that balance requires you to make hard decisions. The survey found more than half of working parents miss work at least once a month for their child, often due to babysitter/daycare issues and doctor’s appointments. As an employer, these missed days can easily add up, sometimes cutting into crucial time to meet deadlines and complete projects.

To decrease absenteeism in the workplace, consider benefits such as onsite childcare or preventative health programs that could cut back on child-related appointments. You can also implement a more flexible work schedule, so allowing parents to easily work from home if their child is sick and make up missed time if they must attend an appointment or event.

Increased productivity

While healthy types of stress exist, stress associated with balancing family and work is rarely beneficial. If parents are stressed about their children while at work, productivity will surely decrease. For parents of young children, this stress can take a major toll. More than 58% of parents who work or study away from home believe their absence has an effect on their child’s development, and 40 to 55% of respondents were at least mildly concerned that their young children’s behavioral development is not on track. This is quite a heavy weight for parents to bear while simultaneously focusing on day-to-day work.

Providing ways to decrease parents’ stress and ease their minds that their children are safe, happy and healthy is a good way to boost both morale and productivity. This could include child development tracking platforms, take-home meals or even the occasional “bring your child to work” day.

How to take the first step

The first step you can take to support your parent employees is to examine your current benefits alongside your staff. For example, if millennials make up a large majority of your workforce, your benefits should cater to young parents, as many are likely to start having kids, if they haven’t already. Once you’ve identified the need, taking a survey of the office is a good way of gauging what’s most important to them. Based on Cognoa’s results, 62% of parents would utilize progressive, parent-friendly offerings through their employer’s insurance, such as a platform allowing them to track and support their children’s development.

Catering to your parent employees will retain your strong staff and help appeal to potential star talent. Start small, and ask for constant feedback – your employees and your company will thank you for it.

About Michele Bell

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