HR + Workplaces
December 4, 2023

Creating Equitable Workplaces by Supporting Working Parents

To create inclusive and effective workplaces, consider working parents as a barometer for a equitable and prosperous future.
Written by
HR + Workplaces

In the final stretch of the year, companies are actively shaping their strategies to meet various business objectives such as hiring, budgeting, and benefits. These decisions often involve analyzing employee feedback from recent surveys or assessing year-to-date performance, and often end up with a lackluster impact on employee turnover.

While employee attrition is impossible to avoid completely, some turnover can be preventable with equitable and effective policies. 

Health of the Workforce

Many companies believe they have generous policies and support their employees, until they start analyzing their turnover rates. It’s not uncommon to see an increase in turnover as headcount grows, and some industries see higher rates than others, but what all organizations have in common is the steady loss of parent talent. Working parents are a great indicator of the health of the workforce because they have so many existing systems - both in the workplace and society - working against them. 

Despite how many employees are working parents, workplace infrastructure is incompatible with caregiving and school schedules. For example, employees may be expected to be in the office by 8:00 AM, but schools don’t begin until 8:30. Or meetings are scheduled during school pick-up times, and childcare is no longer affordable. That’s why women with caregiving responsibilities are 30% more likely to turnover when work from home policies are rescinded.

But these caregiving responsibilities aren’t isolated to just women. 90 million people in the U.S. workforce have care responsibilities to others in addition to their jobs, and the looming care crisis is a warning of potential turnover of nearly half of your workforce in 2024. Unfortunately, very few organizations analyze their parent turnover to understand who and why they’re leaving, and what improvements can be made to retain their working parent talent. This data can provide invaluable insights into effectively increasing employee retention.

Analyzing Parent Turnover

Understanding parent turnover is significant because not only are 40% of employees working parents, but many working parents are also in leadership roles and it can be detrimental when their institutional knowledge walks out the door. 54% of women with a master’s degree begin motherhood after age 30, and 20% welcome their first child after 35 years old. The more education someone has, the greater the risk of turnover and cost to replace them. 

Most organizations simply glean turnover insights from exit interviews, but that’s one person’s feedback and rarely is that information applied to improving a process. A more precise approach involves identifying the percentage of employees leaving who are working parents and identifying trends related to their tenure and life stages. At what point are working parents quitting? Are there any commonalities and trends?

This analysis can reveal opportunities to enhance the employee experience and identify inequitable policies causing avoidable turnover.

Knowing this information can help identify opportunities in the employee experience or inequitable policies that are causing preventable turnover. Perhaps a company is losing a lot of employees because of inequities in their family support policies, such as:

  1. There is no paid parental leave policy.
  2. Existing policies are not gender neutral so both parents aren’t able to take time off equally.  
  3. The policies don’t include all family configurations, including non-traditional families and LGBTQ+ employees who are otherwise excluded from many existing systems.  

Embracing Working Parents for an Equitable Future Workplace

As we approach 2024, the workplace landscape is evolving rapidly. Sitting at the intersection of famtech + insurtech gives great perspective into what will retain nearly half of the workforce. The benefits employees seek, such as competitive benefits and remote work options are no longer mere “perks.” They have become non-negotiable expectations and ignoring them will cost your organization. Companies aim to maximize the return on their investments in new employee offerings, but employees have diverse needs and life stages. 

To create equitable workplaces, we encourage companies to consider working parents as a barometer for the future. They exemplify the challenges and obstacles that need to be addressed to create a more inclusive, supportive, and effective work environment. By adapting policies and practices to better support working parents, organizations can not only retain valuable talent but also set the stage for a more equitable and prosperous future.

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