Why Family-Friendly Practices Create Good Business
There are few workplace strategies besides family-friendly practices that have the potential to enhance business with minimal effort and investment. Companies tend to think the costs of maternal leave, flex scheduling, or other family-friendly policies will outweigh the benefits, but the research makes a different statement. According to a two-year study from CIGNA, simply implementing a lactation support program for new mothers in the workplace resulted in an annual savings of nearly $250,000 in employee health care expenses. Incorporate the savings of higher retention rates and increased productivity, and the benefits of family-friendly practices are too good to ignore.
Since the United States is the only developed nation that is not required to provide paid maternity or paternal leave, US companies are afforded a unique position in the market if they choose to provide these programs voluntarily. Establishing a paid leave program for families is a strong way to support gender equality in the workplace at all levels, as well as advertise company support of the community. In an era of corporate social responsibility, family-friendly policies are a must for becoming an employer of choice and gaining the talent of today’s socially-conscious workforce. In addition, having children makes most parents more productive and dedicated. When parents are supported through their workplace, loyalty and productivity combine to create a workforce that is strongly motivated to achieve company goals. Add in the fact that family-friendly practices positively impact employee health, and companies have a significant opportunity to improve their bottom line with just a few supportive policies.
Without doubt, investment in family-friendly policy is one of the safest, easiest, yet most lucrative decisions a company can make. Simply transforming an old meeting room into a private lactation room for new mothers is an extremely cheap investment with high yield for gender equality, retention, and productivity for new mothers. Including flexible scheduling arrangements needn’t cost anything at all, and yet creates strongly positive relationships between companies and their family-oriented employees. Some full-time employees would prefer to step down to part-time employment in order to spend more time with new babies or care for elderly family members, and most employers that have made this possible have discovered reduced job dissatisfaction, leading to reduced attrition rates.
Lastly, it’s important that companies not only make these arrangements available, but also encourage employees to take advantage of them. For example, some new parents may not want to change their work arrangements upon returning to the office for fear of appearing less dedicated. However, a company that advertises flexible scheduling arrangements, a lactation room, paid leave, or any other family-friendly policy will help these individuals feel less isolated or cautious. In turn, this creates engaged and happy employees. This strongly impacts businesses bottom line with minimal effort or investment, making family-friendly policies a “must” for companies that wish to grow to the next level.
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