Many employers are realizing that if they want to attract top employees, they need to create a family-friendly environment, new research suggests.
Overall, about half of employers have taken steps recently to ensure their employees can spend quality time with their spouses and children, according to a study from the staffing firm OfficeTeam. Specifically, over the last five years, 49 percent of organizations have made changes to workplace policy to better accommodate working parents, while 51 percent have not made any extra effort to make it easier for employees to spend time with their families.
"With half of companies offering more family-friendly benefits in recent years, the onus is on organizations that have not kept pace to revisit their policies," Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, said in a statement. "Employers should actively promote their programs in this area to attract and retain top workers."
One problem employers may have is that they put their resources into perks that don't influence a working parent's decision to join a company.
The research shows that while 79 percent of employees named flexible hours as the family-friendly perk that would best convince them to work for an employer, just 68 percent of employers actually offer that option. [See Related Story: Support Your Employees by Creating a Family-Friendly Workplace]
Conversely, the study revealed that just 3 percent of employees said maternity and paternity leave policies would influence where they decided to work, but nearly 80 percent of employers offer those policies. Additionally, just 2 percent of workers said they want their employers to offer childcare programs. However, 18 percent of the organizations surveyed offer those options.
Employers also put resources into adoption benefits, but this area doesn't affect whether employees want to work for a company, either. The study discovered that 35 percent of businesses offer some sort of adoption benefits, but none of the employees surveyed said the feature would entice them to work somewhere.
"Having extra time with family can be a game changer for staff," Britton said. "Perks like flexible schedules and telecommuting are attractive to all employees, because everyone appreciates work-life balance, whether that means being able to take care of obligations at home or pursue personal interests."
The study was based on surveys of more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies that had 20 or more employees, and more than 500 U.S. workers who were employed in office environments.