As companies all over America look to re-opening offices in the next few months, there are concerns over how many working parents with young children will be able to return to the office. Millions of working mothers have dropped out of the workforce as they did not have access to quality child care – and since many child care providers shut down permanently as a result of COVID-19, this trend will continue well into 2021 and beyond.
Employers who wait too long to address this critical need are at high risk of losing more of their workforce and experiencing lower levels of employee morale. They need to meet working parents where they are and offer support accessing child care or risk dealing with increased turnover.
The Employee Retention Dilemma: Can Employers Overcome It?
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already critical need for easy access to child care to support a healthy economy and workforce. While companies such as PwC put extra measures in place to support working parents, others lost a percentage of their female employees across all levels of seniority to take care of their kids.
Since February 2020, approximately 9.8 million jobs were lost of which women account for 55% of those losses. The brunt of child care fell disproportionately on the shoulders of working mothers resulting in:
- Reduced working hours
- Stalled corporate growth
- Leaving the workforce entirely
Parents are at breaking point and are looking to their employers for assistance to ensure that they can continue to keep a balanced work/home life. Below, we look at the strategies that companies can put in place now to provide efficient child care solutions that increase retention levels and employee engagement.
Four Key Ways Companies Can Ensure Working Parents Don’t Get Left Behind
Navigating a return to work will cause a degree of stress and worry for all team members – especially parents. Not only do they have to readjust after working remotely but they also have to make arrangements for their children.
This will be an overwhelming task. So, how can employers assist? At Vivvi, we always encourage a holistic approach that honors the whole person.
1. Support & Community: Creating Employee Resource Groups
Showing working parents that you care is a key driver of employee engagement and performance levels. While parents will have the support of family, they also look to colleagues and employers for support.
Establishing a working parents employee resource group (ERG) can be highly effective. These employee-led groups provide a space for coworkers with similar experiences to come together to connect, provide insights, and share resources. For parents, a dedicated ERG provides the support that many are looking for in the workplace – from tips on navigating child care options to resources for transitioning back to work after parental leave.
2. Immediate Support: Robust and Flexible Family Leave Policy
A robust and flexible family leave policy offers immediate support when parents need it most. Today’s working parents appreciate companies that adapt quickly to the realities of parenthood. Not only will it positively impact the lives of parents, but it will also drive business results as an organization.
Deloitte is one company that is well known for its strong and robust parental leave policy. The company provides paid parental leave up to an average of 22 weeks in addition to return-to-work programs, financial support for quality child care, and flexible transitioning back to full-time work.
“There’s NOTHING better than when you have a conversation about having a child and your male leader reminds you to take the time you and your baby need since this time is so precious and reconfirms your role/job will be here when you return.”
- Employee at Deloitte, Great Place to Work’s Best Workplaces for Parents, 2020
3. Medium-Term Support: Deliberate Flexibility
If employee engagement is a concern, then you must ensure that benefits for working parents extend beyond parental leave.
During the pandemic, many companies learned that child care is prioritized over career responsibilities – this was especially true in the case of working mothers. One way to mitigate this is to provide working parents with the accommodations that they need.
Companies should look at ways to help working parents take the time that they need to balance both their career and family lives. Whether that is by setting enforced vacation days or putting a “no-meeting day” policy in place. Parents need flexibility now more than ever before – deliberately providing flexible work arrangements can lead to improved employee performance and productivity levels.
4. Long Term Support: Employer-Sponsored Child Care
Employer-sponsored child care assistance programs are no longer just for employees in Fortune 100 companies. Access to efficient and affordable child care providers is something that all parents have to navigate – and this shouldn’t be done alone.
Without employer-sponsored child care policies in place, working parents will struggle to access the resources they need to continue partaking in the workforce.
Businesses should provide access to varied child care options such as in-home child care services, child care subsidies, and access to a high-quality early learning center. This will inevitably reduce turnover costs and increase business innovation and productivity.
Child Care is a Collective Issue: Why Vivvi is Treating it As Such
At Vivvi, we believe that child care is not solely an issue for the parent to resolve but one that deserves collective attention. That’s why we partner with businesses to provide employees with access to effective, accessible, and affordable child care solutions.
“This is one of the most important employer benefits that people aren’t really thinking through when considering employee compensation packages. It is in line with a company culture [that tells employees] you can be a badass working mom, or dad, and have a family, and we’ll help you do both.”
- Agatha Kluk, Kluk Farber
We Partner With Employers to Support Working Parents
Vivvi partners with employers of all sizes to make high-quality full-time and backup care more accessible and affordable. With flexible offerings and global coverage across campus, in-home, in-office, and virtual care, Vivvi meets the needs of your business and your employees where you are.
Visit our employer page to learn more about the benefits and ROI our child care offerings have provided to businesses like yours.