Working parents are some of the most valuable players in our corporate offices (see graphic), and yet companies are still at a loss for how we can better support them in the workplace beyond maternity/paternity leave. We worry that any allowances made by the company will be costly or may be perceived as accommodating or too personal. But here’s the deal: your employees are people, and one of the best ways to deepen their loyalty to your company is to take care of what matters to them personally.
Some of the biggest stories this year centered around companies that offered benefits to support working parents. Companies that extended maternity leave, offered paternity leave, as well we those who had on-site care for children, found themselves in the headlines and on the Best Place to Work List. These trends highlight that offering child-centered employee benefits is one way getting personal can help your company get results.
According to Bright Horizons Modern Family Index, 62 percent of working parents say it’s extremely important for company values to support the needs of working parents, and 52 percent said it was critical for company culture to address family responsibilities. One of the greatest responsibilities parents have, second to ensuring the health and safety of their children, is to ensure their children have access to an excellent education.
When companies offer working parents tools to balance the demands of their personal lives, their capacity and contribution in the workplace grows exponentially. We've put together a list of 4 things companies can do to support working parents’ second largest concern: getting the best education for their children.
Education-Related Lunch & Learns
The internet is both a blessing and a curse for working parents. It’s wealth of information, but navigating the world wide web for unbiased, factual, useful information when time is scarce, can feel like scouring LinkedIn for the perfect lead. The solution? Host a lunch and learn where you bring the expert in education to the office. For young parents who are often afraid their status as a parent makes them a vulnerable employee, offer a “How to Choose the Right Daycare” session. For parents of high schoolers, a “Roadmap to College” lunch and learn.
What about employees who couldn't make a lunch and learn? I'm thinking your custodial staff, your front desk personnel, or the employee who is dealing with a fire and doesn't take a proper lunch. The reality is some of your working parents are your hardest working employees who will desperately want access to this information. Online webinars mean they can access it when and where their schedules allow.
College Advising Workshops
If you employ parents with high school aged children, you better believe they are trying to figure out how to navigate the college maze. Parents use many of their off-the-clock hours helping their children write admission-granting college essays and researching summer internships to help their children build a robust CV. They do this with limited time capacity to make sure their teens are set up for success. Your working parents would be immensely grateful if you offered/underwrote college advising workshops where their children learned essential skills for success in high school and college application support.
Education Relocation Support
Can you imagine moving your whole family to a new city and the only resource you have is the internet? Exactly. Finding a school for their children is one of the greatest concerns relocating parents have, and it heavily influences where they choose to live. It's also a subject many real estate agents are not at liberty to discuss with any depth. Companies graciously connect relocating employees with moving services, real estate agents, and spousal transition support. Complete the package and connect your relocating employee with an unbiased expert in education. It will save them hours of research and worry, and it will earn bonus points for whoever in the family takes care of all things school-related.
Putting any one of these options in place will help your employees spend less time down the researching rabbit hole (on company time, no less), and they’ll appreciate that the company is helping them achieve a better work/life balance.
Do you have to do all of these? Of course not. Can you do one? Absolutely. Test it out. Send this email to your working parent affinity group. If these benefits resonate with your employees, get in touch with us–we'll be happy to help you figure out how your company can get better results by getting a little personal with your working parents.