Extended parental leave, unlimited PTO, on-site childcare — post-COVID-19, employers are stepping up and going the extra mile to support parents in the workplace. Family well-being has become a crucial part of whole-person well-being to attract and retain talent. Working parents faced new challenges during the pandemic with juggling a lack of childcare and overall support while meeting work expectations and performance.
Some parents managed just fine — while others, such as working moms who held the main caregiving responsibilities, were forced to choose between the two. A 2020 study by consulting firm McKinsey found that up to 2 million women were considering leaving the workplace. And Pew Research Center data found that “between February 2020 and February 2021, 2.4 million women left the workforce, compared with 1.8 million men.” This is a striking statistic for the future of women in the workplace, as women currently make up less than half of the U.S. workforce.
Many companies see the benefit — for both the employee and employer — in providing well-being support for parents in the workplace, but supporting the whole person goes beyond flexible schedules and extra days off. Single parents, burned out parents, new parents — there are many parents in the workplace that require specific care and support. It’s up to employers to address these needs and bring employees back into balance.
3 Ways employers can help parents in the workplace
1. Celebrate daily wins
Employee burnout numbers remain high — and when it comes to combating burnout as a parent, HBR reports that, “parents (of any marital status) in the United States already had one of the highest rates across the world of parental burnout — intense exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of ineffectiveness from parenting.” Focus on daily wins to alleviate stress for parents in the workplace. Forgetfulness or slipups might happen — but it’s the daily progress and accomplishments that are worth celebrating to boost employee morale. Try beginning 1:1s asking, “what’s your biggest accomplishment (personal or professional) this week?”, share three things you’re grateful for or recognize your employees by listing what they’ve achieved by the end of the day. Celebrating small wins will help achieve bigger goals.
2. Create connections across the company
Does your company have a large group of new moms? Or maybe a group of single dads who are the main caregiver in their household? No matter what “type” of parent they are, let them know they’re not alone by creating connections across the company. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are designed to address specific topics and ultimately build community. Many employers dedicate ERGs to groups like moms transitioning back to work from leave — and designate a safe space for employees to connect, ask questions, share stories and support each other.
3. Prioritize mental health
Employee mental health support is more important than ever. Since the start of the pandemic, APA’s Stress in America pandemic survey found that “75% of parents say they could have used more emotional support than they received, 32% received treatment from a mental health professional, and 24% were diagnosed with a mental health disorder since the pandemic started.” Holistic employee benefits offer long-term value — and access to mental health resources and support is at the top of the benefits list. Prioritize mental health by providing resources and programs for employees — think telehealth, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or well-being program activities centered around mindfulness, resilience coaching, sleep help and more.
Free burnout playbook
Learn more about how to tackle your workplace burnout challenges by visiting our ultimate guide for overcoming employee burnout.