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What Working Parents Wish Employers Would Change

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Working parents need supportive, parent-friendly workplaces—that’s a fact. And more and more, working parents are not afraid to leave companies that aren’t providing them with the benefits and flexibility they need to be good parents and employees.

Our research into what working parents want to see from employers doubles as an open letter to companies looking to retain quality employees. Being a parent gives employees access to a unique skill set, and they want a company culture that works for them.

Here’s a look at changes working parents would like to see.

The “Married to the Job” Culture Doesn’t Fit Anymore

For decades, hustle culture has thrived in the professional world. Being “married to the job” was worn as a badge of honor for many. There is certainly nothing wrong with being dedicated to your career—if the culture works for you. But what we’re seeing more and more,  for working parents is that it simply isn’t working.

The latest studies show that parents are not only willing to leave their jobs for benefits that suit them, they’re actually doing it. In fact, 83% of women and 81% of men with children ages 0–5 said that child care benefits would be a very important or somewhat important factor in deciding whether to stay at their current employer or switch employers.

Employers must be willing to look at their company culture through the lens of parents to fully understand what needs to change. There is no denying that companies struggle to attract and retain high-quality talent. Ask yourself: Does your culture foster a married-to-the-job attitude? Or does it genuinely support the lifestyles of working parents?

Working Parents Want Parent-Friendly Workplace Cultures

Companies that are fully inclusive of working parents thrive. Companies that have policies and systems in place to support their employees along the parenthood journey, things like parental leave and employer-sponsored child care, enjoy longer relationships with their employees.

When given a choice, working parents say they would choose a company that offers flexible working arrangements and employer-sponsored childcare over a company that doesn’t.
Many working parents drastically changed how they worked during the pandemic due to a lack of childcare support. These changes acted as a hard reset and made many working parents realize that parent-friendly workplaces are the way forward.

Here’s What Employees Want Their Companies to Change

We are what we do—and parents want their employers to recognize that. Recent opinions suggest employees want companies to respect the many additional roles they play in their lives: spouses, caregivers, friends, and neighbors. 

The main culture changes working parents want to see from their employers are: an end to rigid work models, child care offerings, inclusivity, and anti-parent biases.

Rigid Work Models

Flexibility is one of the main benefits working parents look for when looking at company culture. Companies should prioritize flexibility when assessing policies and benefits for working parents.

The rigid in-person 9-to-5 work model that we once knew is simply no longer an option. Hybrid models and remote work are now a reality, and employees want companies to embrace flexible work models. Perks like working asynchronously help working parents focus on caregiving responsibilities. Similarly, remote work can often offset the burdens of the child care cost crisis.

Outdated Child Care Support

Outdated or lack of child care benefits and support are no longer adequate. This is one area in particular that working parents want employers to invest heavily. 

Child care benefits doesn’t necessarily mean on-site or near-site care to the office (although on-site care does significantly decrease both absences and job turnover). Companies can now explore a range of child care benefit options, including backup care, child care subsidies and even virtual tutoring to support their caregivers.

Employer-sponsored childcare programs should be designed to support your employees throughout the parenting journey, not just during the first spring. Parent-friendly workplaces need to include employer-sponsored child care as part of company benefits.

Lack of Inclusivity

When designing a company culture that will appeal to parents, employers must strive for inclusiveness. One hurdle that many companies fall at is not providing fathers with the same benefits as mothers. Traditionally, men receive less support when they become parents. Paternity leave is often much less than that of mothers. Many first-time fathers miss out on quality bonding time with their children as they have to return to work earlier. 

Additionally, family leave benefits are often geared toward the “traditional” definition of family. Individuals pursuing IVF treatment and adoption might not receive the same support from their employers. Parent-friendly workplaces are successful when they build truly inclusive cultures for all employees.

Eliminate Anti-Parent Biases

We’re done with the anti-parent—and particularly anti-mom—biases.

Many working mothers fall victim to “mommy tracking” in the workplace. Returning from maternity leave, mothers often feel they aren’t offered the same opportunities as they were before their parental leave. This may mean reducing their work hours or being passed over for promotions. 

Working parents want to work for companies that support their roles as parents.

How Vivvi Helps Employers Level Up Their Company Cultures

The best company culture is one that embraces employees at every stage of their lives.

At Vivvi, we help employers support their employees exactly where they are in their parenting journey. We partner with companies of all sizes to make access to high-quality child care a reality for working parents. 
With flexible solutions that address all caregiving stages and can be accessed from any geographical location, our team can work with your business and employees to provide a solution that benefits everyone. For more information on how to level up your company culture, visit our employers page to learn how our early learning program helps working parents.

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