How Childcare Benefits and Support for Working Parents Could Change Your Talent Pipeline
By | Bruce M. Anderson (he-him) | Writer/Editor
The current pandemic hasn’t created a childcare crisis as much as it has revealed — and profoundly exacerbated — one that already existed.
“The pandemic really exposed what women have known all along — that safe, affordable childcare is critical to keeping women in the workforce,” says Addie Swartz, a coauthor of a Harvard Business Review article from earlier in the year entitled “Childcare Is a Business Issue.” Addie is also the CEO of reacHIRE, which provides cohort-based return-to-work programs and talent engagement platforms for professional women.
“Working women for decades have known that school, childcare, summer camps, and after-school programs all get band-aided together to keep women in the workforce,” Addie says. “And with the loss of that infrastructure, which is what we’ve seen with the pandemic, the world kind of falls apart. And in the last 18 months, we saw these critical supports disintegrate, forcing many women to stop working entirely.”
Companies and the broader economy suffer without the contributions, insights, and talents of these overtaxed parents. Forward-looking organizations are now exploring ways to better support parents so they can retain and attract their talent and give them an opportunity to do focused and productive work.
A survey of 500 U.S.-based companies conducted by Care.com at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 found that 66% of respondents were planning to offer their employees more flexibility and 63% intended to expand childcare benefits.
Let’s dig deeper into why childcare is, as HBR trumpeted, a business issue and what organizations can do to address it.
Women are suffering because of the competing demands of work and home. Businesses are too
It’s hard to get any work done at all — let alone your best work — if there’s a caterwauling toddler wandering down the hallway or through your crucial Zoom meeting.