Time and again, working parents identify childcare as their top concern. As a manager, you recognize that the benefits you offer have a strong effect on how job candidates view your company. Your ability to attract working parents may come down to whether you offer childcare help as a benefit.
Indeed, childcare can be a crippling expense for working parents, with costs for at-home care averaging more than $28,000 a year in the United States. Easing this burden with strong workplace initiatives can help you attract and retain employees. The following strategies can enhance your appeal to employees with children.
1. PTO and flexible scheduling. Paid time off is often used to attract talent, especially millennials. However, it should also be pitched as a family-friendly benefit to working parents. Parents need time off for things like children’s medical appointments, unexpected illnesses, family vacations, and school events. Generous PTO and flexible scheduling make juggling work and home life much easier for families.
2. On-site childcare. This option may be expensive; it will also require considerable buy-in from management. However, on-site care addresses many concerns shared by working parents and could prove to be a “make-or-break” retention benefit for your workforce. Research shows that employees perform better and come to work more regularly when using on-site childcare. Employees also report that on-site childcare improves their ability to concentrate on their jobs.
3. Childcare subsidies. On-site childcare may not be possible. But consider enticing working parents by paying a portion of off-site childcare costs. With childcare ranking as one of largest expenses working families face, offering a subsidy can tip the scales in your favor when employees are weighing career options.
4. Childcare referrals. Even if you can’t afford on-site childcare or a subsidy, you can still help. Consider offering childcare support by establishing a resource network for your employees with children. Gather recommendations and information about local childcare providers and options, and make it readily available.
5. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Many working parents find it hard to balance work and home life, especially after the birth of their first child. This stress can take a toll on their emotional health and work performance. You can help employees navigate this challenging time by offering counseling through an employee assistance program. An EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees. EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional wellbeing. You can choose the right EAP vendor for your organization’s needs and tailor the program to your workforce. EAPs are usually entirely paid for by the employer. Their benefits are offered to employees as well as their families.
Every working parent is different. No one solution can address all your employees’ needs. But recognizing the importance of childcare is essential. Offering support and solutions can go a long way toward attracting and retaining valued employees.