As a women-owned, people-centered B Corp consulting firm, Future State understands the precious value of having a diverse and talented workforce. Parents are an important part of the workplace and successful work cultures respect the fact that employees have lives outside of work. The workplace of the future validates that with comprehensive parental benefits that enable their world-class teams to raise families and do great work at the same time.
Future State is proud to partner with TriNet, a full-service HR solutions provider that manages benefits, payroll, risk & compliance and more for small and midsize businesses. TriNet is our partner in offering comprehensive benefits to our employees—who, because we are an ESOP, are also our business partners—with a robust and competitive benefits package that recognizes them as people first and employees second.
As Mother’s Day approaches, we hope to honor all parents—mothers, fathers, step-parents, foster parents, caretakers, guardians, and anyone else who helps guide children to adulthood—by appreciating the myriad ways workplaces can uphold their end by making this tremendously important task easier. TriNet makes the complexity of HR simpler and supports our philosophy that everyone showing up to work has a story and people behind them, and that having a benefits package that supports their entire family is critical. Here, TriNet Senior Human Capital Consultant Julie Dennler shares some of the many reasons that comprehensive parental benefits bolster not only company culture, but also successful recruiting and a healthy bottom line.
Future State: How does a comprehensive benefits package help attract and retain winning teams?
Julie Dennler: Small and midsize businesses (SMBs)—the organizations TriNet serves—don’t always have the resources available to provide employees with the types of top-tier benefit packages that larger corporations can offer. However, attracting top talent from larger competitors becomes easier when SMBs can provide the same quality and variety of benefit offerings as larger corporations. Being able to offer extensive health and wellness benefits, alongside tax-friendly programs such as flexible spending and health savings accounts, and retirement plan options, helps SMBs level the playing field for attracting and retaining skilled employees.
An interesting side effect of providing benefits that would not traditionally be expected at a smaller employer is the impact on employee engagement. We’ve had clients tell us that just the act of offering a quality benefits program sends a message to employees that their employer cares about them and their personal/health needs. Many employers see how taking care of their employees and their families leads their employees to feel more engaged with the business. Of course, engaged employees are great for employee retention, and tend to lead to better work output and improved customer satisfaction.
FS: Do you have best practices or recommendations for parental leave?
JD: A big thing to be aware of when it comes to leave policies is that laws vary by state and often by city. It’s also important to note that a number of jurisdictions have recently created—or are in the process of creating—mandatory paid parental leave policies.
That is why we highly recommend you start by figuring out which laws apply where your employees work. Then, where it makes sense and is feasible to do so, go beyond the laws. You may only be required to provide paid leave for a defined period of time—or not at all. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exceed the requirements.
Whatever your leave policy, it should be equitable. In other words, we recommend making leave available equally to new mothers and fathers, as well as adoptive parents and foster parents. Of course, applicable law may have something to say about that, too.
Also, keep in mind that parenting accommodations don’t end once leave does. There are laws around nursing mothers, time off to care for sick children and myriad best practices. Additionally, the laws are not static; they change frequently. For these reasons, we recommend consulting an HR professional or employment attorney when creating a parental leave policy, and checking that policy periodically for compliance. This is an area where we are seeing a lot of movement, so a policy that works today may not be fully compliant a few months down the road.
Prospective employees for whom parenthood is a priority will evaluate working for you against working someplace else, and they’ll want to know how your offering stacks up against their other options. Parent-centered benefits can make your organization an appealing place for parents to work.
FS: How do parent-centered benefits help organizations retain and attract top talent?
JD: People have children. Some have children biologically, while some have them through surrogacy, adoption or foster care. Others may not yet be in the process of becoming parents but are contemplating having children. If your employees are not currently parents, more likely than not at some point, you will have employees who will become parents during their time at your organization, and they will want to know what parental benefits they get when they do become parents. Prospective employees for whom parenthood is a priority will evaluate working for you against working someplace else, and they’ll want to know how your offering stacks up against their other options. Parent-centered benefits can make your organization an appealing place for parents to work.
FS: How do parent-centered benefits affect workplace cultures, dynamics and outcomes?
JD: Many organizations find that paid parental leave policies are not only attractive to both current and prospective employees but also reasonable and responsible relative to the company’s bottom line.
However, if paid policies are not currently required or feasible in a particular instance, providing unpaid leave (even if not required by law) and quality, affordable benefits to protect your employees’ families is a great start. Other benefits and perks—such as dependent care flexible spending accounts, flex hours, the ability to work remotely when needed and even subsidized daycare—are great offerings that can help employees succeed as parents, which absolutely impacts their ability to do their job effectively at your organization.
Additionally, these other benefits and perks, which we recommend extending to all employees equally, regardless of parenting status, can improve the overall work-life balance of all your employees. Providing these types of benefits helps position your company as having a culture that cares about its employees, which further serves to enhance your employees’ engagement and your success at attracting and retaining the best talent.