Why Your Company Needs to Invest in Family in 2018

Paris Wallace, CEO and co-founder of Ovia Health, recently posted this piece on LinkedIn about why companies need to invest in family in 2018. Read it below!

At any given time, it’s likely that over a quarter of a company’s employees are either thinking about starting a family, already pregnant, or struggling to balance work and a young family. Simply put, there is no other issue that impacts an organization as profoundly as the challenges associated with how employees build and care for their family. Addressing these issues can define a company’s culture and save millions.

That’s why implementing maternity and family benefits that fit the needs of the next generation workforce is the most important thing a company can do in 2018. An effective, engaging program will improve health outcomes, help attract and retain top talent, and increase benefits utilization. Why are you waiting to implement it?

Preventing costs by improving health outcomes

Approximately 6 million women become pregnant each year, and because nearly 70% of them are working, employers carry much of the financial weight of the parenthood journey. The average employer spends 10% of their corporate healthcare costs on maternity. This cost is driven by:

Implementing a maternity and family benefits solution that targets these costs is crucial. Providing a combination of education and guidance will allow employers to promote positive behavior change among their employees. For example, helping women choose healthcare providers with a low C-section rate helps reduce the risk of unnecessary C-sections and their associated costs. Helping couples conceive naturally reduces the need for fertility treatments, helping women avoid the high-risk pregnancies that can result from procedures such as IVF or IUI.

A maternity and family benefit that engages and intervenes early can set employers up to save 25% of their maternity related costs, and, of course, lead to healthier and more productive employees.

Preventing costs by recruiting and retaining talent

Losing a talented employee costs your organization. According to Ovia Health’s 2017 Motherhood in America report, 34% of women don’t return to their job after having a baby and 23% of women exit the workforce entirely, which significantly decreases the pool of top talent. It costs an average of 33% of an employee’s salary to replace an employee, so it’s crucial that employers have maternity and family benefits in place to help parents return to work successfully once they start a family.

Additionally, employers need to signal to employees — including potential recruits — that their company prioritizes family. With 89% of millennials prioritizing benefits over pay raises, employers that lack the benefits that women and families want are losing the opportunity to recruit top talent in a competitive job market.

Potential and current employees are looking for maternity and family benefits that include career guidance and return-to-work planning to help them feel prepared to succeed as working parents. Benefits such lactation rooms (which are required for companies larger than 50 employees), breaks to support breastfeeding, and flexible scheduling resonate strongly with working mothers. These benefits can also be a boon for employers: research has found that for every 1,000 babies not breastfed, there are an extra 2,033 physician visits and 212 days in the hospital.

Preventing costs by ensuring benefits utilization

We know that employers spend millions of dollars a year on benefits, but it’s hard to ensure that your employees use the benefits you’re providing. This is because most benefits are using dated, ineffective methods to engage employees. Most traditional benefits, especially outdated health plan maternity programs, rely on mail and phone calls to engage employees. Combined with the lag time between when a health plan receives a claim and when an employee receives attention, it is not surprising that employers are seeing such low engagement for their traditional maternity benefits.

By implementing benefits through a mobile solution — 96% of working parents in a new survey from Ovia Health said that they would find a benefits portal helpful, and millennials already spend more than five hours a day on their phones — companies can see an immediate impact.

“Better benefits would have kept me at my job”

“I don’t want to work at a place that doesn’t care about the wellbeing of its employees”

“Another company tried to recruit me but I like the benefits at my company”

These quotes are from women who participated in the Ovia Health 2017 Motherhood in America report. It’s obvious that focusing on family benefits can have a big impact on a company’s bottom line and on their employees’ happiness and wellbeing. No other human resource challenge costs more from a direct and indirect cost perspective, impacts the highest percentage of your workforce, and directly influences attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent. Investing in family at your company will be the most important thing you do in 2018 — it’s time to get started.