The issue: One of my employees is not returning to work after she has her baby. How do I stop losing valuable employees?
The solution: One possible answer is to offer paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Paid leave can make it easier for parents to stay in the workforce. You may be thinking, “How can my small business afford paid parental leave?” The cost of offering paid parental leave may not be as burdensome as you might think, especially when compared to the cost of replacing that employee. It may require planning ahead, adjusting priorities, and cross-training coworkers, but by offering paid parental leave, your company can join the many others who report positive effects on productivity, employee morale, and turnover.
In states with paid leave laws, like California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, employers reported that the paid leave programs had minimal effect
on their business. In small businesses with less than 50 employees, 91 percent said the law had a “positive effect” or “no noticeable effect” on profitability and performance.
The issue: My employee has been missing a lot of work due to child care issues. And when he is here, he’s less focused on the job. How do I increase employee attendance and productivity?
The solution: Nearly one in six Alaskans in the workforce depend on child care in order to go to work each day. But finding reliable, high-quality child care is not easy. In 2015, 46 percent of Alaskans with children under age 6 reported difficulty finding care.
So why not make it easier on your employees? Some possible solutions include allowing parents to bring their infants to work with them, offering flexible hours, or allowing some work to be done from home. Providing employer-sponsored child care on site is another great solution. If that’s not feasible for your business, try partnering with other organizations so that, together, employer-sponsored child care becomes possible. When parents can go to work confident that their child is being well cared for in a safe and nurturing environment, productivity will increase.
The issue: I just can’t seem to find employees who work well with others. How do I find qualified employees with the right soft skills?
The solution: You are not alone. In a recent national survey of 300 business leaders, 60 percent reported more difficulty finding job candidates with adequate character skills than candidates with adequate technical skills. So what can we do about it? We must invest in early childhood, because research shows that is when the foundation for those character skills is developed. As a business decision-maker, you can implement many of the solutions mentioned on this page to support working families with young children. You can advocate for public investments in high-quality early childhood programs. And, you can support thread. Together, we can build a stronger workforce by increasing access to affordable, high-quality early care and learning.