How family-friendly work policies could help Utah companies struggling to find/keep employees

How family-friendly work policies could help Utah companies struggling to find/keep employees


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Utah employers, a recent survey may shed some light on what you can do to improve employee retention. the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah Community Builders and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services sponsored the survey, which was released early this month by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

The good news is that most people appear to be satisfied with their current work and childcare arrangements. But when it comes to the ideal work situation, many parents and guardians would appreciate more family-friendly policies. These include paid family leave, flexible work hours, remote or hybrid work options, child care assistance and — of course — increased wages and salary.

"With workforce recruitment and development a top priority for businesses across all industries, this report highlights areas where employers and employees can work together on work-life balance," said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

Miller added that a priority for the Chamber's non-profit social impact foundation, Utah Community Builders, is to help businesses become more family-friendly. They do this by teaching employers best recruitment, retention and management practices. Thanks to this new survey, employers now have specific ideas for improvement in this area.

Not only will this benefit employees, but businesses will reap the rewards as well.

"The survey data shows that businesses have an opportunity to implement policies that will not only strengthen our workforce but also generate new opportunities to find untapped talent and create an environment supportive of work-life balance," Miller said.

So, if you're tired of endlessly posting on job boards and trying to fill vacancies, it might be time to try something new. The following takeaways might just help you hang on to valued employees as long as possible.

What your employees really want

According to the survey, most Utah parents with children under 12 work full-time. And while some said that their ideal situation would be to work less to care for their children, many said they'd work more if employers could offer supportive policies.

They want to take a day off work to care for a sick child without losing pay. They don't want mandatory meetings scheduled during school drop-off and pick-up hours. A majority said they would change their job, employer or industry for more flexible or predictable hours.

In short: Parents and guardians want their jobs to coincide with their family's needs. Employers who can offer policies like these would certainly seem to have the upper hand when it comes to recruitment and retention.

How family-friendly work policies could help Utah companies struggling to find/keep employees
Photo: goodluz/

Pay is not as important as flexibility

You probably won't be shocked to learn that most employees want to be paid more. Survey respondents all ranked salary, paid family leave and flexible hours very highly when finding the ideal work and childcare arrangement.

But increased pay was only No. 6 on the list of policies that would influence whether a person changes jobs, employers or industries. Remote work options, flexible schedules, part-time opportunities, child care subsidies and onsite child care ranked higher.

Needs vary by demographics

Things such as gender, age, household income and current level of job satisfaction played a big role in determining which policies were most important to people. For example, those with children under 6 years old, women, one-parent households, younger respondents and those in the lowest income brackets valued subsidized onsite childcare more than others.

Finding high-quality, affordable child care (and more money to afford it) was significantly more important for dissatisfied and neutral respondents.

How to implement these policies

In the end, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to finding the perfect work-life balance. But family-friendly policies may go a long way toward influencing an employee to stay or change jobs. That may mean offering flexible work hours, paid family leave, remote or hybrid options or onsite child care or anything else mentioned above. There are plenty of options. The only way to know if they work is to give them a try.

For further insights, you can read the full report online.

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