Balancing a demanding career in financial services is tough for parents of young children. In a country like the U.S., where there’s no guarantee of family-friendly management policies or benefits, parents often opt to reduce hours, leave the workforce, or switch to less demanding industries. But when employees leave your company, their knowledge and skills leave with them. That knowledge takes time and money to replace.
It’s easy to blame turnover on the growing economy and increasing demand for skilled workers. But the truth is that financial services managers have significant influence on the retention rate of a team. In a 2018 report, Work Institute concluded that changes in management strategy could prevent nearly 77% of employee turnover. And some of the most effective ways to improve parent employee satisfaction and retention are flexible management policies.
Flexible Work Makes Everyone Happier
If your goal as a manager in the financial sector is to keep your team motivated and happy, then the happiness of parent employees should rank high in your priorities. On average, parents tend to be less happy than non-parents, but the parent “happiness shortfall” is greatest in countries like the U.S. where there are no government policies to improve work-life balance. A 2016 study summarized by The Council on Contemporary Families found that “the negative effects of parenthood on happiness [are] entirely explained by the presence or absence of social policies allowing parents to better combine paid work with family obligations.” And in countries with social policies that fully support work-life balance, parents are often happier than non-parents.
But in the U.S., with no federal protections for parent workers, implementing family-friendly management policies is up to the discretion of the employer. Only 13% of parents in the U.S. have employer-paid family leave. Offering flexible work options such as telecommuting and guaranteed sick days improves parent employees’ work-life balance and job satisfaction.
And parents aren’t the only ones who benefit when your company offers work-life balance. The same study found that “policies such as guaranteed minimum paid sick and vacation days make everyone happier, [even though] they have an extra happiness bonus for parents of minor children.”
Flexible Work Saves Your Company Money
Offering flexible work options doesn’t just improve the happiness of your team; it also saves your company money. Recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees is expensive. Employee turnover is expected to cost companies as much as $680 billion in 2020, and financial services has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry. Family-friendly management policies help retain experienced employees, saving the cost of training and recruiting.
And as younger workers mature, flexibility will become even more important for keeping top employees on your team. Workers in the millennial and Gen Z generations are more likely than older workers to leave a job in favor of better flexibility. A survey by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace of employees in the financial services industry found that 83% of younger workers feel they have had to sacrifice work-life balance in order to work in this sector. The same survey found that 80% of workers wish for options like compressed schedules or telecommuting. A strong majority of all the workers surveyed, 69%, said they are likely to leave the financial services industry if they can’t find more flexible work options.
Effective Policies for Family-Friendly Management
If you know you want to implement more family-friendly options in your management strategy, what policies will be most effective for improving work-life balance and employee satisfaction?
Remote work is one of the biggest ways you can improve work-life balance for your team. Even a few days a week of working from home gives employees more free time by reducing commute hours, and telecommuting can enable a parent to stay home with a sick child or spend time at their child’s school during lunch.
Flexible hours, flexible emergency leave, and guaranteed minimum PTO are other options that can have a big impact on employee satisfaction. Allowing working parents to shift their work hours to 7 to 3 instead of 9 to 5 can enable them to pick kids up immediately at the end of the school day, saving them childcare costs and letting them attend after-school games and performances without missing work.
If time out of the office isn’t feasible for your company, consider making the office itself more inviting for families. Try options like private pumping rooms for nursing mothers, bring-your-child-to-work days, and free in-office childcare.
Your top employees want to succeed. But they don’t want to struggle to balance performing well at work and being a busy parent at home. In today’s workforce, you can no longer attract and keep top talent just by offering a high salary. By implementing family-friendly, flexible policies in your financial services company, you can attract top talent and keep them happy for the long-term.