When Companies Invest in Career Coaching for New Parents, Everyone Wins

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Consider the statistic you may be well aware of by now: 43% of women with children leave careers or off-ramp for a period of time. Often, these women leave reluctantly, because staying in their jobs become challenging or even impossible. Of course, this outcome can be expensive for employers, as the cost of replacing an employee can be as much as 150% of her annual salary.

As more companies become aware of the challenges new parents face, many are starting to offer one-on-one coaching to help employees prepare for parental leave and navigate their transition when they return. It’s an investment that not only helps new parents immensely, but also provides numerous benefits to employers.

The Ins & Outs of Career Coaching for New Parents

By helping employees cope with issues that can drive new parents out the door, career coaches can help companies reduce turnover costs. The issues that lead new parents to quit their jobs are different for everyone, but the struggles include unreliable child care, unsupportive managers, health problems related to childbirth, separation anxiety and postpartum depression, just to name a few. Navigating these difficulties without support often makes off-ramping seem like the only viable option.

 

The issues that lead new parents to quit their jobs are different for everyone, but the struggles include unreliable child care, unsupportive managers, health problems related to childbirth, separation anxiety and postpartum depression, just to name a few.

 

On the other hand, when employees do feel supported, they are better equipped to navigate these hardships. At the same time, companies may get the benefit of increased employee productivity, lower rates of absenteeism, and a decrease in mental health-related expenses. Over time, they can also improve gender diversity among their workforce and ensure there’s greater parity at all levels of their business.

A Digital Solution

Since it can be difficult for time-strapped parents to attend in-person coaching sessions, digital solutions like the kind offered by Maven are critical. Career coaching via virtual appointments ensures that everyone who needs the support has convenient access to it.

Further, companies that arm parents with access to work coaches for one-on-one guidance recognize that the solutions parents need are not always universal. Every employee’s unique home circumstances and work situation will factor into the kind of advice and support a coach can offer.

Don’t Forget About Manager Training

As important as career coaching is, it’s only one piece of a holistic approach to creating a truly family-friendly work culture. Another key component is manager training that arms managers with the skills they need to effectively support moms and dads returning to work. Click here to learn about some of the maternal biases held by managers, and how manager training can help.

Bottom line: Investing in resources that soften the blow for new parents returning to work is a win-win for companies and employees. Click the request-a-demo button below to learn more about Maven and our comprehensive return-to-work support.


3 Ways Postpartum Depression Costs Employers, and What They Can Do About It

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Postpartum depression (PPD), or the onset of depressive symptoms that set in a few weeks to a year after giving birth, is estimated to affect up to 20% of new moms. Since postpartum depression can (and often does) strike after a woman in America has returned to work, there are many implications for mothers as well as the companies that employ them. Without social support in the workplace and access to adequate mental health services, women can’t get the help they need and businesses endure a greater financial hit. Here are a few of the ways untreated PPD can affect a company’s bottom line.

1. Untreated postpartum depression can drive up healthcare costs.
One study examining the link between postpartum depression and healthcare costs found that women incurred 90% higher health care expenditures than women who didn’t suffer from PPD. Among the findings that the study revealed: Depressed women were significantly more likely (18.2%) than non-depressed women (4.1%) to visit the emergency room. Another study from the University of Maryland found that postpartum depression corresponds to extra healthcare costs of around $700 within the first three months after a woman gives birth. Clearly, offering employees access to mental health services (to both prevent and address postpartum depression) can help reduce the substantial health care costs associated with PPD.

 

Companies have the ability to address these costs in a number of key ways. For example, offering new moms back-to-work coaching as well as adopting policies that allow mothers to return to work at a gradual pace after maternity leave can help reduce some of the stress that makes them more vulnerable to mental health issues.

 

2. Untreated postpartum depression can lead to decreased work performance.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the leading cause of absenteeism in the U.S. is depression. And absenteeism usually equates to decreased productivity that directly impacts a company’s finances. In fact, The Wilder Foundation estimates that postpartum depression costs employers $6,223 per woman in lost productivity if a mother’s depression goes untreated after her return to work. This lost productivity can be attributed to missing days of work as well as what experts called “presenteeism”: when employees show up for work, but don’t perform at their best due to mental or physical health issues. It’s worth noting that presenteeism can be even more expensive for companies, in part because it’s not always immediately noticeable.

3. Untreated postpartum depression may cause women to leave their jobs.

When women with postpartum depression do not receive the support and flexibility they need from their employers during this challenging time in their lives, they often end up deciding to leave their jobs. In addition to being a disappointing outcome for the many women who want to stay in the workforce, this becomes extremely expensive for employers. A New Zealand company, Clear Communications, calculated that recruiting and training replacements for new mothers who quit after their maternity leave cost them an average of $75,000 (USD) per woman. Their estimate is in line with Ernst & Young’s claim that replacing a new mom costs them 150% of her salary, based on the median U.S. salary of $44,000.

The Bottom Line:

Companies have the ability to address these costs in a number of key ways. For example, offering new moms back-to-work coaching as well as adopting policies that allow mothers to return to work at a gradual pace after maternity leave can help reduce some of the stress that makes them more vulnerable to mental health issues. By providing preventative counseling and screenings for postpartum depression, companies can encourage women to get the help they need before their symptoms become overwhelming. And, since some studies suggest that social support is the most important criterion in recovering from postpartum depression, making counseling more accessible via telemedicine can also go a long way. Ultimately, companies will be rewarded with significant healthcare cost savings and a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce.


The Biggest Challenges New Moms Face When Returning to Work

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The transition to “working parent” can be a bumpy road for moms and dads alike. But there are some struggles that new mothers typically face that new fathers don’t experience. Understanding the challenges that are unique to working moms is crucial for companies to better support the needs of the female workforce. Here are just a few of those challenges:

1. Recovery from childbirth

Every woman will recover at a different rate and with different postpartum symptoms. For many new moms, the recovery period is a long journey that continues for many months after they’re back at work. There are over 28 physical postpartum symptoms that new mothers commonly report, including pelvic dysfunctions, headaches, heavy bleeding, fevers, and uterine infections, to name a few.

 

There are over 28 physical postpartum symptoms that new mothers commonly report, including pelvic dysfunctions, headaches, heavy bleeding, fevers, and uterine infections, to name a few.

 

2. Breastfeeding & pumping

For new moms that decide to breastfeed, pumping at work is cited as one of the biggest sources of stress when returning to their jobs. This may be due to a myriad of reasons. For example, workplace accommodations for pumping are often insufficient; office culture makes it difficult to take the necessary breaks for pumping, leading to physical discomforts like engorgement; and coworkers’ lack of understanding about a breastfeeding mom’s needs leads to an unhealthy work environment.

3. The “second shift”

In households with children under 6 where both parents work full-time, women spend 4.57 hours per day on housework and childcare, compared to 2.91 hours for men. As a result of the imbalance, mothers are 30% more likely than fathers to turn down a promotion, and more than twice as likely to quit their jobs altogether. Interestingly, in households where fathers take paternity leave and play an equal role in parenting a newborn, there tends to be a more even distribution of household and baby responsibilities after both parents are back at work.

The Bottom Line

The transition back to work after maternity leave can be difficult, but employers can help reduce new mothers’ stress in several ways. Offering flexible hours and a gradual phase-in back to work can make it easier for women to cope with postpartum symptoms. Clear lactation policies and a comfortable, private, designated lactation room can ease women’s anxiety about pumping while at work-- and breastmilk shipping services can ensure that breastfeeding moms never have to miss an important career opportunity due to inability to travel. Finally, one-on-one coaching (like the kind Maven offers) can help women feel supported and empowered as they navigate every part of this new phase of their lives, from time management to relationships with partners and colleagues.