The pandemic forced companies to rethink most aspects of their business, and HR was a priority for many. The Sage Return to Growth Outlook report shows over one quarter of organizations implemented a new HR policy this past year, with many adapting policies to better match new challenges bought on by the pandemic. Wellness programs – and the need to remain engaged with fellow team members – was something many employees needed to help them cope over the past year, and subsequently many companies invested in this area. Further, many businesses indicated that they intend to keep investment high for employee appreciation programs.
The move toward offering childcare assistance and child-friendly offices is positive, and it may also have larger business impacts. McKinsey Research shows almost one quarter of female workers with children under 10 considered leaving the workforce last year – while a further 17% considered downshifting. Family commitments play a significant factor in the ability to participate fully at work, and meeting employees where they are and meeting these needs will be an important part of rebuilding the workforce.
An openness to these policies may also be important in ensuring strides made toward more equitable workplaces aren’t lost. Analysis from National Women's Law Center (NWLC) showed that women accounted for 156,000 jobs lost in December 2020 and as businesses build back, it will be important to consider the HR benefits that best enable these talented employees to rejoin the workforce. The data shows that many believe that by investing in child-friendly benefits, businesses will have a better chance of attracting and retaining the best employees.