WorkBeyond Summit 2017: Building Better Benefits & Better Workplaces

Ovia Health was invited to participate in a terrific event last week: the WorkBeyond Summit, a two day gathering of forward-thinking professionals focused on issues that affect working mothers. The conference explored current trends and policies that impact companies’ abilities to attract and retain top talent — from parental leave, diversity and inclusion, to mindfulness, employee engagement, and technology. Given Ovia’s commitment to women’s health and supporting women in the workforce, we’re thrilled to see these topics getting the attention they deserve.

We became involved in the event when one of our contacts on Working Mother’s Top 10 list recommended us as a “technology of choice” that is catalyzing meaningful change in the way the workplace supports women and families. Our presentation, during the “Technology to Engage Top Talent” session, included data about the growing number of working women (women now make up 47% of the workforce!). This statistic — and its growth — is especially noteworthy because it’s good for business: companies achieve greater financial success when they have more women on the board, at the C-level, and in management.

And yet, companies are still facing a major problem: too many women leave their job after the birth of a child. Our Motherhood in America Report studied the factors that prompted women to leave their jobs following the birth of their child. The report identifies low-cost, high-impact strategies that any and all employers can adopt to better support, recruit, and retain female talent — and help women be confident working parents. In addition to these strategies, we found that employers should consider a three-pronged approach to better support their employees:

  1. Focus benefits and resources on potentially solvable health issues (e.g., unnecessary C-sections, preterm delivery) and the physical, emotional, and financial costs associated with them.
  2. Ensure that benefits meet the needs of women both before and after they have a child, and take a longer-term view on talent management. 64% of women decide to leave their job before their baby is born, showing that employees need coaching, support, and benefits information from the moment they consider starting a family.
  3. Invest in developing organizational expertise on maternity and parenthood, especially with regards to returning to work. Train management specifically on these topics, so that they can offer the right words and resources at the right times.

At Ovia Health, we weave these practices into our benefits solutions so that we can effectively and genuinely support women, families, and employers during the often complex transitions from preconception to pregnancy to parenthood. By addressing the entire path to parenthood, we enable women and men to feel confident as working parents of healthy children. We also help employees navigate and engage with their other benefits. For example, our solution educates women about what benefits they have (e.g., a free breast pump), while also sharing resources that could help them avoid a variety of potential health complications and major costs — without having to ask HR directly for help (e.g., information and guidance on smoking cessation).

The WorkBeyond Summit concluded with an awards ceremony for the 100 Best Companies of 2017. The lineup was impressive, with some honorees – such as Verizon, PwC, General Mills, and Johnson & Johnson – making the list for over a decade. Common themes and trends at these companies included: fully paid maternity leave, modified return-to-work schedules, adoption support, more women in management, and assistance with childcare and eldercare. Recipients shared inspiring and touching stories that had the audience in tears or in stitches.

We were honored to have been part of this year’s event. It was a joy to learn from the many talented professionals and companies at the conference, all of whom do work that resonates with our mission to improve the lives of women and families. As a leading maternity benefits solution, Ovia Health feels a responsibility to lead the way in how we support working mothers and parents, and we’re excited to continue this conversation with employers, women, and parents.