When we think about supporting female talent and mothers in the workplace, what is the first thing that comes to mind? If it’s creating better maternity leave policies, you’re likely not alone in this thought. Longer, more supportive, and paid maternity leave continues to be a focus for employers that seek to emphasize to current and potential female talent that they are valued after becoming a mother.
Unfortunately, in the US, 43% of new mothers don’t return to the workforce (1). This is a disappointing and costly outcome for both companies and women. Replacing an employee who leaves after childbirth can cost anywhere from 20% to 213% of that employee’s annual salary (2).
These are alarming statistics for any employer and cannot be solved by offering a generous maternity leave policy alone. HR teams evaluating their benefit programs for the next year and beyond must consider how to support women and families throughout their entire fertility and parenthood journey, which truly begins months or years before a baby is born.
First time mothers are 5 years older than they were in the 1980s, due largely to an increased focus on careers: 48% of employees report that they delay starting a family to focus on their careers. Societal norms are changing rapidly, but biological factors around fertility remain the same. Millennials, who are becoming the largest population at many companies, are turning to methods like IVF, egg freezing and surrogacy more than any previous generation. Still, many can’t afford these procedures, with costs rising to tens of thousands of dollars for a single treatment.
Ultimately, benefits tell employees what a company cares about. Women who are part of a global organization or tech giants, like McKinsey or Facebook, receive generous fertility benefits that range from egg freezing resources to adoption support. While disruption in benefits standards tends to trickle down to smaller organizations from industry leaders, it is a slow rate of adoption. Small and mid-size companies are often under the assumption that offering “non-essential” benefits, like fertility and family-planning benefits, require a budget and resources that they do not have.
Over the past few years, fertility benefits companies have entered the HR landscape in order to disrupt the traditional health benefits model, and help employers better retain and attract female talent in a competitive labor market. Companies like Nubundle, which only requires employers to pay a yearly admin fee, offer a seamless way to make fertility and family planning benefits, resources, and financial support accessible to all employees and their partners, regardless of their insurance or marital status.
The positive impact of fertility benefits, for both the employer and employee, is clear: 73% of employees are more grateful, 61% feel more loyal and 53% stayed longer when their employers offer fertility coverage alone (3). Smart employers who recognize the value in fertility benefits will win the talent race, and potentially create multiple generations of loyal employees.
Andee Harris was the Chief Executive Officer of HighGround Enterprise Solutions, Inc. She is an award-winning HR technology executive and has over 20+ years of experience leading high tech services and software organizations. Harris loves to play in the intersection of Human Capital and technology and is often sought out for her ability to connect with multiple levels of an organization to drive business results through big data, process improvement, and problem-solving. Prior to joining HighGround in 2016, she served as the vice president of marketing and alliances for The Marcus Buckingham Company. She also led sales and marketing for Syndio, a people analytics software company, where she provided strategic direction and day-to-day operations for the sales and marketing team.