Amid rising employee expectations and an incredibly competitive labor market, companies are investing more in benefits than ever before. Rampant burnout, especially among working parents, is forcing companies to think about how they support employees with inclusive benefits that support them continuously along every step of their parenting journey. According to a Glassdoor survey, four in five employees would prefer better benefits to a higher salary, and nearly three in four millennials are willing to change jobs for fertility coverage alone. Here’s how to build a family-friendly benefits package your employees will love while boosting your bottom line.

What are family-friendly benefits?

Family-friendly benefits help employees at all life stages—whether planning, building, or raising their families—get the support and care they need while balancing their family priorities with work. These benefits can include:

  • Paid family leave
  • Digital family health platforms
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Lactation support
  • Family building and preconception support
  • Child care support
  • Mental health support

Why employers need to invest in family-friendly benefits

As more companies look to foster equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplaces, family-friendly benefits help them lower costs and compete for the best talent. 

  • Family-friendly benefits attract top talent: The two most common family-friendly benefits are paid parental leave and fertility support, which correlate highly with overall employee satisfaction.  Similarly, organizations that are perceived as offering “special and unique” benefits like egg freezing and adoption support are twice as likely to retain parents. 
  • Improved benefits lower healthcare costs:  Research from the United Nations found that benefits like paid leave and breastfeeding support aren’t just good for families, they’re also good for business, boosting workforce productivity and lowering healthcare costs. Companies that invest in their working parents experience 5.5x the revenue growth of peers thanks to reduced absenteeism, preventable medical costs, and better employee retention. 
  • Family-friendly benefits advance Diversity, Equity & Inclusion goals: The social determinants of health—life context and factors that affect people’s well-being— account for 60% of health outcomes.Care matching, or pairing patients with medical providers from similar backgrounds, can help address these disparities.

Similarly, benefits like adoption and surrogacy support can also help foster inclusion. In fact, 54% of millennials say they would feel more loyal to their employer if they extended fertility benefits to LGBTQIA+ employees, even if they didn’t use the benefit themselves.

Four essential components of a family-friendly benefits program

The best benefits continuously support parents throughout their entire journey from preconception to postpartum, cover both physical and mental health, and are inclusive of all paths to parenthood.

Look for continuous care that improves outcomes

Many companies’ family-friendly benefits only address specific milestones, like fertility treatment or childbirth, without providing quality care in between. Instead, employers should find a benefits partner offering continuity of care. As the online gaming leader Zynga and other employers have found, adopting a continuous family-building care model like Maven can lead to a significant reduction in the rate of C-sections and the average length of a NICU stay.

Offer support for physical, mental, and emotional health

Fertility isn’t just a one-time expense—it’s part of a complex, profound journey that affects all dimensions of health. According to research, the depression and anxiety levels of women experiencing infertility are similar to those of women diagnosed with cancer. To treat issues before they arise, the best benefits programs include preventative counseling and support programs for employees, as well as behavioral health care with licensed professionals. These benefits can reduce parents’ absenteeism while improving both satisfaction and productivity.

Prioritize digital-first benefits for increased engagement and lower costs

If family-friendly benefits aren’t easy to find and access, employees won’t use them. Three out of four millennials say they prefer telehealth to in-person visits, and 95% of companies with 50 or more workers now offer at least one telehealth option to meet that demand. Apps like Maven allow those parents to meet with specialists via video or private message, which is especially helpful for working parents and families in areas with limited access to care: one in three Buzzfeed employees’ virtual visits occur between 6 PM and 8 AM, when many doctors’ offices are closed.

Digital healthcare options aren’t just convenient for employees: they also save employers money. A recent Harvard Business Review report found that companies who embrace digital benefits strategies like mobile apps and telemedicine pay 4.6% less per employee than their competitors do.

Use care navigators to build trust and improve health outcomes

In the United States’ fragmented healthcare system, offering quality health benefits doesn’t guarantee quality care. Employees need a friendly guide, like Maven’s dedicated Care Advocates, to keep them from falling through the cracks. That’s why more than half of employers now offer some sort of health advocacy service to help employees understand their benefits. If a member’s insurance company does not cover a certain procedure, for example, advocates can investigate financial assistance, connect members with specialists, and summarize treatment options in a scientifically sound, approachable way.

Dive deeper into family-friendly benefits

In today’s tight labor market, innovative family-friendly benefits can help you stand out among the competition and boost your bottom line. Adding family-friendly benefits like Maven is a strategic investment in your workforce: one that pays off in lower turnover, better engagement and productivity, and increased employee satisfaction. The more robust your organization’s family-friendly benefits are, the easier it will be to attract and retain top talent. You’ll see healthier parents, healthier children, and lower healthcare costs.

To further explore the family-friendly benefits space, download Maven’s latest ebook, The HR leader’s guide to family-friendly benefits.

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