Image of airplane on ground
Company Culture

7 Ways to Create a Supportive Workplace for New Parents

Today, retaining valued employees is more important than ever—and that goes double for new parents. Research reveals that nearly 50% of working women do not return to work after having a baby, and that more than half of those who come back do so reluctantly.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. By creating a workplace culture that actively supports new parents, and moms in particular, you improve the likelihood that they will return—enthusiastically.

Here’s seven ways to do just that. How many have you already put into action?

1. Provide Paid Parental Leave

If you don’t provide paid parental leave, consider adding it if you can—it’s a truly compelling benefit. Already offer it? Consider extending it for a longer duration; it may pay for itself and then some by sparing you the cost of hiring replacements or temp workers.

Case in point: studies show that when employers extend paid leave from eight to 12 weeks, new moms’ attrition declines by 50%.

2. Offer a Back-to-Work Transition Period

For new parents, returning to work is stressful on many levels. Allowing new parents to work part-time for several weeks before returning to full-time hours gives them a chance to adjust emotionally, find and develop trust in their caregiver, and ease into their new workday routine.

3.  Explore or Expand Remote/Hybrid Work Options

Almost all workers relish remote work opportunities, but perhaps no one as much as new parents. Allowing them to work remotely, even a few days per week, just might be the tipping point between losing or retaining a valued team member.

Why not take it further, and waive your cameras-on policy for virtual meetings? This may allow nursing moms to keep their carefully-cultivated schedule, while sparing all new parents the need to get camera-ready on top of everything else. Or take the opposite approach and allow new additions to make occasional appearances on camera, too!

4. Go Above and Beyond for Breastfeeding Moms  

Ask any mom who has done it: it’s incredibly challenging to continue nursing when you work onsite. Instead of simply complying with FLSA mandates regarding lactation spaces, why not create a truly functional, comfortable pumping sanctuary that shows you support their commitment?

Consider adding amenities like a private fridge and homey seating. Allow employees to schedule use of the room through your online calendar. And by all means: ask those using the room for suggestions to make it better.

5. Add Parent-focused Benefits 

Paid parental leave is the paradigm of parent-pleasing benefits, but it’s not the only one. While hosting an onsite daycare may be beyond your scope, consider providing childcare stipends or daycare reimbursement.

Make sure your employee assistance program (EAP) offers services geared to new parents, such as access to lactation consultants, baby sleep counselors, and support groups.

Finally, consider whether unlimited PTO might make sense for your business. For new parents juggling occasionally sick kids or childcare emergencies, it could be a gamechanger. 

6. Encourage Managers to Be Supportive

You can have the best intentions, but if your managers aren’t on board, your efforts will fall short. Make sure that all of your managers—not just those who are parents—are sensitive to the challenges that new parents face.

Make sure that your leadership is mindful to avoid “the maternal wall”—i.e., the biased perception that mothers don’t work as hard as everyone else. No parent should be denied opportunities for advancement because of their parenthood status.

7. Ask New Parents What They Need  

The best way to learn how you can truly support someone is to ask. To confirm that your HR policies are parent-friendly, ask working parents for their input. Frontline managers should check in frequently with new parents on their team just to see how they’re doing. 

You’ll not only send the message that your company truly cares—you may glean insights that will help you better support (and therefore retain) new parents on their journey.

Need inspiration? Learn about one new mom’s back-to-work experience—and what steps her employer took to help make things work. 

Want to keep up with new content in our library? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Group Wateringflowers

See how Namely's flexible solution will help you streamline your HR processes by having your people, payroll, and benefits info all in on place.

Get a demo

Get the latest news from Namely about HR, Payroll, and Benefits.

CTA Image Rocket
CTA Image Mobile