February HR News Roundup

Group of employees having a meeting

Our February roundup of HR news covers employee retention — specifically for working parents, the popularity of flexibility and wellness benefits, the digital employee experience, and more. Take a look!

How to Retain Working Parents 

Emotions, logistics, and new routines, oh my! Going back to work after a new baby can be downright difficult. Regardless of the type of parental leave your organization offers post-childbirth, it’s incredibly important to think about what you’re doing for both moms and dads when they return, as well as retention tactics that will keep them happy in the long-term. Here’s what others are saying: Tracy Saunders, CEO and founder of Women’s Job Search network, recently told SHRM, “The main thing is to recognize that there will be additional pressures on women returning to work. Not just financial or day care issues, but emotional issues like separation anxiety and stressors that can lead to depression.” She also suggests creating resources and mentorship programs for returning parents. In Daisy Wademan Dowling’s recent Harvard Business Review article, the founder and CEO of Workparent said it’s important to showcase your working moms and dads and publicly recognize their success. And according to Inc., some companies have even introduced perks such as a breast milk shipping service, discounts on high tech cribs, and company-paid travel for caregivers when employees have to travel for business. 

Sick Days for Remote Workers?

With employees who work in an office, you might often hear, “I’m not feeling well, so I’m going to work from home today.” So you might think that those who already work from home shouldn’t even need sick days. Think again. According to a recent SHRM article, when an employee is sick, working can slow the getting-better process and impact productivity and quality of work. What can you do to encourage your employees to use their sick time, even if they don’t come into the office to begin with? Let them know that it’s expected and important for their health. And make sure managers and higher-ups take sick days, too — this will help your employees avoid feeling guilty when they do the same. And even when they’re healthy, encourage mid-day breaks to further reinforce that you care about their wellbeing. 

Flexibility and Wellness Reign Supreme 

In today’s workforce, flexibility is key. A recent Benefits Pro article revealed Staples Workplace Survey data that shows 67 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs if work arrangements became more rigid, while 90 percent say increased flexibility boosts morale. And when it comes to wellness, 78 percent of employees say their employer is responsible for helping them stay well — both mentally and physically. What benefits, programs, and policies do you have in place to encourage flexibility and boost wellness?

The Power of Employee Feedback

Knowing what your employees are thinking can set your company up for success. And the best way to go about it is, simply, to ask. When employees resign, it’s common to conduct exit interviews. Not surprisingly, a recent Forbes article says these interviews provide organizations with incredibly valuable insights. “And the best of them are using the information obtained to tune the whole process of developing talent from initial recruitment onwards to boosting their efforts in the ongoing battle to retain the best,” wrote the author. There are also more preventative measures you can take with current employees, such as touch-base meetings and “stay interviews,” which can help prevent surprise resignations and blindsided managers. Be sure to address any problems you learn about — from outgoing or current employees — before they get worse. 

Embracing the Digital Employee Experience

Step aside, employee engagement. Today, it’s all about the digital employee experience. But what is that, exactly? According to a recent Entrepreneur article, it’s “the sum total of digital interactions between a staff member and his or her organization.” And it starts with HR, the employee journey, and some important technology. First, think about recruitment. When communication is lacking throughout the interview process, potential employees might be turned off. You can make their experience better (and communication easier) with software that offers things like email templates and analytics. Throughout onboarding, learning portals and virtual chat rooms can help employees get to know each other. And a platform that brings employee reviews, feedback, and goal-setting together can give the career development process a boost. Of course, bringing new technology into your organization can be overwhelming, so if you’re just starting out, pick one stage of the journey to focus on first, and go from there.

Written by: Jeannie Krill

February 28, 2019

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.