Employees need support during early parenthood
Early parenthood support is the name given to the support offered to new parents following the birth or adoption of a child, and includes but is not limited to, support with infant development, sleep and feeding, perinatal health, relationships, mental health, childcare, and return to work.
Nearly two thirds (63%) of employers say they offer early parenthood support, leaving those employers who don’t, extremely vulnerable to losing staff to other more family-friendly organisations at the point their staff become parents.
The pandemic was a real wake-up call to employers when employees’ working lives and home lives suddenly collided in ways no one could have predicted. With this comes a greater employer awareness of the importance of family life and its influence on staff choices. Indeed, in relation to this, 83% of employers said they have concerns they could lose their best talent if they do not provide early parenthood support.
Reasons for offering early parenthood support
From an employee retention point of view, employers believe the most important reason to offer early parenthood support is to appear as a caring employer (45%).
This was followed by wanting to be a more attractive employer against competitors (41%) and because it is important that staff can support their family and friends outside of the workplace (34%). Additional reasons were to mitigate the risk of the wider workforce being impacted by a colleague having time off or not being productive (31%) and to be able to actively attract specific demographics of staff, for example by gender or age (19%).
When employees become parents, their lives are happily turned upside down and they tend to re-evaluate what is and what is not important – often putting the new child at the centre of everything. If an employer is unsupportive or disinterested, employees may start to look elsewhere for an organisation that more visibly puts family first.
Senior leadership buy-in
Unfortunately, not all business leaders recognise the positive difference that such support can make to recruitment and retention. Just 55% of HR decision-makers think that their senior leadership teams recognise that offering support for early parenthood has a positive impact on recruitment and retention.
This was also echoed with regards to whether early parenthood can make a positive impact on the wider business. Indeed, just 55% of HR leaders believe senior leadership recognises that offering such support has a positive impact on the wider organisation. Areas such as productivity, efficiency, and morale can all be improved when colleagues see how well others are supported.
It is true that not every employee will need or want to lean on workplace support, but knowing it’s there gives great peace of mind. It also sends out a very clear message that the organisation understands that the individual is more than just an employee, they also have an important family life and responsibilities beyond the workplace.
Early parenthood support is best delivered by experts with the option of one-to-one support. The early days of being a parent are a real rollercoaster and when advice and guidance are needed, it can be difficult to know where to turn as everyone has an opinion. Knowing that they can access the most current thinking on a subject, and having that delivered by a clinical expert means that mums and dads can rest assured they are doing their best for their little ones.
Offering this type of support is not entirely altruistic. Helping staff at one of their most life-changing moments means employees are more likely to be engaged and productive in the short term and remain loyal to the employer who also supported them throughout those sleepless nights!