What is employer-provided child care?
Employer-provided childcare is a benefit, through which the employer covers part or all of an employee’s childcare costs. This has grown increasingly popular, particularly during COVID when many employers became acutely aware of the challenges their workforce faced, raising children while working a full-time job, not to mention, during a pandemic when child care centers were mostly closed. We are living in the post-pandemic era now but child care concerns and costs are still front of mind for many.
Many employers are stepping in and offering a range of child care benefits as an employee retention strategy. We have previously written about top child care benefits employers should offer their employees. A recent report by Technavio states that the child care market is poised to grow $189.07B USD from 2022 to 2027, with corporations offering child care services to their employees as an emerging trend in the benefits space.
For employers who are interested in supporting their working parents and attracting more talent in need of child care, this post dives into how employers should think about their own child care benefits programs and the questions they should ask themselves and their employees.
Questions Employers Should Ask when Planning a Child Care Benefits Program
The following are questions employers and their Human Resources (HR) team ought to be asking themselves and their employees as they think about the right child care benefits program for their company.
- Assessment of Employees with Children: First of all, you want to assess how many employees there are with children or dependent care needs.
- What is the general breakdown (number and percentage) and what is the age band of their children/dependents?
- What is the geographic distribution of the employees to assess child care options in those localities?
- Current Child Care Support: It is worth taking inventory of your current child care support system and benefits offered to your employees.
- What kind of child care support or benefits do you currently offer to your employees?
- How do you currently assist employees in balancing work and family responsibilities?
- What challenges, if any, have you encountered with any of your current child care support initiatives?
- Employee Needs Assessment: Do you have a temperature read on your current employees’ needs? When was the last time you got a pulse on employees’ current work environment pain points?
- Have you conducted any surveys or assessments to understand the child care needs and preferences of your employees?
- What challenges do your employees currently face in accessing reliable child care services?
- Have you conducted any surveys or assessments to understand the employee satisfaction with your current programs?
- What is the NPS/feedback of these programs?
- Motivations for Child Care Support: Reflect back on your own motivations as an employer in wanting to alleviate child care pain points for your employees.
- What motivated your interest in providing child care benefits to your employees?
- How do you believe offering child care benefits aligns with your company’s values and goals?
- Employee Productivity and Well-being: Do you have a method to assess your employee productivity and well-being? How does child care benefits weigh into this?
- In your opinion, how does supporting employees’ child care needs contribute to their productivity and overall well-being?
- Have you observed any positive impacts on employee retention and satisfaction due to child care support?
- Budget and Investment Considerations: You want to ensure you rollout child care benefits programs that are within your budget and that move the needle on your goals.
- How do you typically budget for employee benefits, and how do you see child care benefits fitting into this framework?
- What level of investment in child care benefits do you think would be reasonable for your organization?
- Preferred Features and Services: Do you already have an informed opinion about what your employees need when it comes to child care benefits and services?
- Are there specific features or services you believe would be most valuable in a child care benefits program for your employees?
- How do you envision integrating child care services into your overall employee benefits package?
- Measuring Success: How would you identify the KPIs to ensure the program you roll out is a success?
- How would you measure the success of a child care benefits program within your organization?
- Are there specific key performance indicators (KPIs) you would prioritize in evaluating the impact of such a program?
- Legal and Compliance Concerns: Have you checked your program within the regulatory framework?
- Are there any legal or compliance considerations that your organization must take into account when offering child care benefits?
- How do you navigate potential legal and regulatory challenges related to employee benefits?
- Future Expansion and Adaptation: How do you scale the program if it is successful?
- How do you foresee the evolution of your organization’s needs in terms of child care benefits in the coming years?
- Are there potential expansions or adaptations to the program that you would consider in the future?
These are just some of the considerations HR teams and employers should consider when carefully evaluating their child care benefits program for their employees. Most importantly, listen to your employees and what they have to say. When designed and rolled out with intention, employer-supported child care programs can be a win-win for both employers who need to hire and retain talented workers and working parents who desire to work productively and effectively, feeling rest-assured their children are well taken care of.