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How to Provide New Parent Benefits

Providing support to your workers often manifests in many different ways. Providing insurance, sick leave, flexible scheduling, and other benefits are non-negotiables that businesses offer to their employees. New parent benefits are situational to employees that have recently or are having a child. Creating an effective plan for supporting new parents within your workforce can take time and effort.

According to a study by SHRM, the number of organizations offering paid paternity leave dropped to just 27% as of 2022, with maternity leave reaching lows of 35%. While this is troubling to many expecting parents, it also presents an opportunity for organizations looking to capitalize on the uncharacteristically low support new parents are currently provided. Read on to learn more about parents’ problems, how to support them, and why this will benefit you in the long run.

Providing New Parent Benefits- How and Why

Supporting your workforce is one of the most reliable paths to building a dedicated and effective team of employees. Neglecting your responsibility to support your workforce can lead to consequences for your overall business success. 4.25 million U.S. workers quit their job in January of 2022- a continuance of the steady rise in employee turnover in the past two years. 

Turnover and Consequences Thereof

SHRM reports that replacing an employee will often cost six to nine months’ worth of that employee’s annual salary, meaning that if you have an employee being paid $90,000 and they quit or get fired, you could spend up to $67,500 just replacing that employee- this does not factor into account the salary of the new employee. For that reason, it should be high on your company’s priority list to retain the employees you already have. Including the ancillary benefits of cultivating a more experienced and knowledgeable workforce as time passes, the amount of money you save by retaining your employees is incalculable. If your organization needs further assistance in reducing turnover, consider the following points: 

  • Provide proper benefits. It’s why you’re here- providing new parent benefits is a small portion of the larger package. SHRM has provided some benefits suggestions to aid you in reducing employee turnover. Flexible work arrangements, paid medical leave, and career development services are just a few benefits you can provide your employees to ensure they feel cared for. 
  • Focus on culture. It’s been found that organizational culture and turnover have a close relationship. Poor culture has been cited widely as a reason for departure from a job or an instigating factor in the search for another one. Investing in opportunities for socialization among your employees, promoting an inclusive culture, and promoting trust are all excellent ways to forge a positive work environment.
  • Recognize your employees and their work. Employee recognition and appreciation go a long way in ensuring they feel valued at the workplace. Ensure that you, as a manager, go out of your way to recognize exemplary work or significant growth in employee capabilities. 

If you’re still looking for ways to reduce turnover in your workplace, consult our whitepaper on the subject. The path to reducing turnover has many different twists and turns, and it’s rarely one that comes without surprises. However, continue working to improve your working environment for your employees, and reduced turnover will follow. 

Cultivate an Equitable and Healthy Workplace

Making your employees’ lives easier in any way you can is the mark of effective management. Your employees should not have to worry about things outside of work while they’re in the office if you can help it- stressors outside of the workplace can often affect employee productivity and may drag the entire workplace culture down. The American Psychological Association cites chronic stress as a prominent cause of decreases in employee productivity. The absence of paid parental leave can lead to undue stress for new parents, and this reason should be provided at all costs. If you’re still looking for ways to cultivate a more healthy and equitable environment for your workers, you can: 

  • Embrace equity in all forms. For many businesses, creating an equitable environment for its employees is a process that requires an arduous and detailed look at the inner workings of the organization. To truly be equitable, you must embrace equity in all forms; this includes wages, representation, recruitment, onboarding, and more. To provide a more equitable environment for your workers, consider spearheading the creation of an equity committee for all employees interested in the subject to contribute to improving the workplace.
  • Embrace mental health awareness. Mental health is never an easy conversation to have- this is doubly true when trying to introduce mental health awareness into an environment that isn’t well-versed in the subject. For more information on embracing all forms of healthcare for your employees, view our whitepaper on the issue. Health is more than physical; organizations that understand are well ahead of the competition. 
  • Provide avenues for physical health improvement. It’s widely understood that developing physical health issues can significantly impact your mental health. Particularly if your organization operates from a traditional office, keeping up with physical health can be difficult. There are things you can do to help your employees out, however. Consider stocking healthier options for complimentary snacks, encourage taking longer breaks during the day to step out and go for walks, and consider hosting company-wide activities that focus on physical health awareness and physical activity. 

Create a Culture of Trust

Harvard Business Review has found that trust is an effective way of getting more out of your employees. Employees who feel trusted by their management often have confidence in their work, go above and beyond their assigned duties, and generally perform at a higher level. An effective way of cultivating this mutual trust with your employees is by providing them with generous new parent benefits policies. If you truly value your employees and their work, then sparing no expense on the buildout of your parental benefits packages is non-negotiable. If you’re looking for other ways to facilitate a culture of trust, you can:

  • Allow your employees agency. Agency and self-responsibility are some of the most significant markers of a trust-first workplace. If you trust in the personnel you’ve hired, you should be able to trust them to take responsibility for their work and to move on their own. This doesn’t mean abolishing management entirely; good management is facilitatory instead of controlling.
  • Promote forgiveness. Have your employees made mistakes in the past? The answer is likely yes. Being a good employee does not mean being perfect; mistakes are growth opportunities. Treat them as such! Trusting your employees to take their past mistakes and grow from them is a great way to ensure your employees that you have their backs.

Be inclusive. Promoting a culture of inclusivity is a must for any workplace. Ensure that every employee from every background with every skill set is cared for. Hold events, meetings, and activities to ensure that everyone feels like a part of the team.

How to Incorporate Benefits Packages

Download: How to Provide New Parent Benefits

For some businesses- particularly smaller ones- incorporating benefits packages can be a new or frightening concept. It’s a lot more simple than it may seem at first glance; however- there are rules and guidelines provided by the government that are easily accessible for any business looking to improve the well-being of their employees. For an introduction to these rules and guidelines, consult our blog post, “When Must an Employer Provide Benefits?” In addition, various acts and laws, such as the FMLA and ERISA, guide businesses concerned about whether they should provide their employee’s benefits. If you need further assistance, consider outsourcing your administrative and personnel services. If this sounds like you, contact Canal HR. Canal HR has over three decades of experience serving businesses in the Gulf South and can help you with payroll administration, workers’ compensation, risk management, and more. Contact us today if you’re interested in seeing how we can help your organization.

Become Familiar with Issues Parents Face

To incorporate an effective new parent benefits plan, it’s essential to become intimately familiar with the issues that your employees face. For example, are they a single parent? Is this their first child? Do they have a network ready to support them? Every parent’s situation is different, so it’s challenging to create a stagnant, catch-all plan for your employees.

Listen and Take Action

If they don’t tell you, there’s no way to know exactly what your employees need help with. You can assume- new parents are likely to face issues regarding energy level, time commitment, and overall stress. However, there are intricacies within these issues, and there’s no way to know precisely what your employees need. You aren’t a mind reader- that’s another profession entirely. For this reason, incorporating your new parent benefits plan must be a collaborative experience between your organization and those the program will affect the most. To do this, you should:

Cultivate a collaborative environment. To encourage collaboration between and with your employees, you first need to cultivate an environment in which this is encouraged. Firstly, it starts with trust: we spoke about this earlier in this paper. Cultivating an environment of trust in the workplace is essential to allowing your employees to feel comfortable sharing their issues with you and moving towards a more collaborative effort. Secondly, you, as the manager, must take action to invite your employees to share their needs with you. For example, hold meetings, offer avenues for anonymous feedback, and create diverse ways for employees to come forward to ensure that every communication style is covered.

Consider your options. Once you’ve allowed space for your employees to inform you of the assistance they need, it is then crucial that you take time to consider your options. Of course, as a business, it would be ideal if you had unlimited resources to implement the perfect new parent benefits plan. Unfortunately, it’s most likely that this is not the case. This is why it’s integral to consider your employees’ needs and create a plan that resolves issues with the most efficient use of your resources.

Act. Once you’ve listened to your employees and considered your options, you must act. Incorporating a new parent benefits plan with your employees’ concerns in mind will benefit you twofold. Firstly, incorporating the plan will ensure that any current or future parents in your workplace are well cared for. Those considering becoming a parent will find relief in working for an organization with their best interests in mind. Secondly, your employees seeing the throughline from their input into the implemented plan will promote the trustworthy and collaborative culture you’ve spent time cultivating thus far.

Implementing New Parent Benefits? Let Canal HR Help

There’s a considerable amount of work to be done on the ground if you want to improve your workplace more generally- you may need to adapt your management style, incorporate new activities and committees, or even completely alter how your company views work. Unfortunately, on top of regular management duties, this leaves limited time for reform to the actual benefits packages that will assist the parents within your workplace. If this is the case, you may want to outsource these tasks to a professional organization specializing in the area.

Canal HR is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that assists with payroll administration, workers’ compensation, benefits packages, and more. We have over three decades of experience working with businesses like you- contact us or visit our website to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.

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