Putting Family First with Employee Benefits reduces Stress


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This is a draft excerpt from the upcoming book, What’s Your Green Goldfish? Beyond Dollars: 15 Ways to Create Employee Loyalty and Reinforce Culture:

1st inchOnboarding

2nd inchFood & Beverage, Shelter / Space, Transparency / Openness

3rd inchWellness, Time Away

The third INCH (continued)

The third inch on the 9 INCH journey to the heart of your employees involves Family. Not just family, but taking a page from the award winning sitcom, a “Modern Family.”

Putting Family First

Families have changed. Today’s employers need to deal with issues such as same sex marriage, infertility, adoption, parental leave, day care, returnships and eldercare. Making certain that employees can focus on their families reduces stress and keeps workers on a more even keel. Allowing them to feel supported and focused on the tasks at hand.

According to a recent article by the New York Times,

These kinds of benefits are a departure from the upscale cafeteria meals, massages and other services intended to keep employees happy and productive while at work. And the goal is not just to reduce stress for employees, but for their families, too. If the companies succeed, the thinking goes, they will minimize distractions and sources of tension that can inhibit focus and creativity.

Let’s look at a Baker’s Dozen of companies that find ways to support today’s modern family:


walgreens inclusive green goldfish

Walgreen’s (#51) embraces those with disabilities. Equality is at the core of Walgreen’s hiring policy. More than just serving the shareholders, it’s about serving each other and the community.

ernst and young green goldfish #114

The London based global tax advisory service Ernst & Young (#114), offers the same benefits for same-sex partners as for opposite-sex partners — even in states that don’t recognize gay marriage. (Source: salary.com)

Adoption and Infertility

Wendy’s (#181) offers adoptive employees a combination of up to $24,300 in adoption assistance and up to six weeks paid adoption leave. (Source: Dave Thomas Foundation)

CarMax (#85) offers assistance to help Associates build families through legal adoption. Qualified associates with one year of continuous full-time service are eligible to receive up to $4,000 in reimbursements for adoption-related expenses.

The law firm Alston & Bird (#9) builds a $25,000 fertility benefit into employees’ health plans. The allowance includes coverage for treatments from in-vitro fertilization to less traditional options like acupuncture.

Getting ready for Baby

Facebook (#20) gives employees $4,500 when they have a baby. A little bonus for a new addition.

aol green goldfish #114

The tech giant AOL (#115) helps take the stress out of being a working parent by offering fringe family benefits to employees. To start, new moms receive prenatal instruction on everything from childbirth to newborn care through the company’s Well Baby Program. New moms get eight fully paid weeks off for maternity leave.

The University of Alberta (#674) operates subsidized daycare facilities onsite for employees with young children and provides an offsite daycare subsidy to $2,000 per child for employees looking for care closer to home. (Source: eluta.ca)

At Eli Lilly (#702) expectant mothers are allowed to take one month of paid leave before their due date.

McMurry (#694), a Phoenix-based marketing communications company, gives new mothers an $800 allowance for house cleaning, home health visits, meals, lactation consulting or other services. (Source: GreatPlaceToWork)

Day Care

tmobile green goldfish #96 childcare subsidies

T-Mobile (#96) offers employees a childcare subsidy. According to their website,

When your life is balanced, you bring more to the job and you are better able to help our customers. That is one of the key reasons we implemented a Childcare Subsidy Program. The program is designed to help you better balance work and life. Eligible employees can receive a monthly contribution to help with childcare bills. (Source: T-Mobile)

Bain & Company (#716) offers a backup child and adult care program called “Parents in a Pinch,” which provides access to in-home backup child care, either temporary or ongoing, any time an employee has a gap in regularly scheduled childcare arrangements. (Source: PR News Online)

The agency McMurry (#559) welcomes children at the office when day care isn’t available. (Source: BusinessInsider.com)

Parental Leave

aetna green goldfish #68

Aetna Life & Casualty Co. (#68) reduced resignations of new mothers by 50 percent by extending its unpaid parental leave policy to six months, saving the company $1 million a year in training, recruiting and hiring expenses. “The reason so many of America’s top companies offer paid parental leave is that it keeps workers loyal, and that holds down turnover costs,” according to IWPR President Heidi Hartmann. “It’s not generosity. It’s just good business.”

The currency website XE.com (#444) offers parental leave top-up for new fathers to 95% of salary for 35 weeks.

Returnships and Mom’s Hours

About One (#464) has a program for Stay at Home Mom’s returning to the workforce. According to their website:

Because we want to make it easier for these women to return to the corporate world, we have created AboutOne’s Comeback Mom Returnship program. Similar to college internships, our Comeback Mom Returnships are for experienced professionals who want to rejoin the workforce. We offer flexible work arrangements on a trial basis to provide these “on-rampers” with the opportunity to refine their skills and demonstrate their capabilities. Upon completion of the returnship, participants are evaluated for permanent employment with AboutOne.” (Source: AboutOne.com)

stew leonards green goldfish #94

Stew Leonard’s (#94) offers “Mom’s hours,” enabling mothers to work while their children are in school – and take off the whole summer to be with them. School delays, no problem. (Source: Stew Leonard’s)

All employees at dePoel (#516) are eligible to work part-time or in school hours only. (Source: The Sunday Times)

The construction company DPR (#569) has 17 offices and offers employees voluntary legal benefit plan. The plan can be utilized for issues like estate and life planning, consumer protection and family law. (Source: Business Insider)

Cresa Partners (#282) is an international corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants. They not only recognize each employee’s birthday with a gift, they send spouses a gift on their birthday, as well. (Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)

On an employees birthday at Studer Group (#563), they receive a $75 gift card and $25 on their childrens’ birthdays. (Source: BusinessInsider.com)

RBA (#306) offers employees an annual allowance of “lodge credits,” that can be used for the lodging portion of their family vacation. (Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)

The oil and gas company Anadarko (#360) has a world-class fitness center. It’s free to employees and spouses, open early and late and on weekends and offers personalized workouts and a host of exercise classes from yoga to Zumba. (Source: Houston Chronicle)


The company also rated a special award because employee surveys consistently expressed this idea: “I feel genuinely appreciated by this company.” Flexibility and team support also helped Houston Hospice Compassus (#380) to its high ranking. Both are crucial for employees dealing with the emotions of people facing the end of life for their family or themselves on a daily basis. Nurses, for example, can set their own schedules with clients. Lori Thomson, a registered nurse and executive director at the West Loop South office, says employees have access to the same bereavement workers and chaplains who work with clients. “Everybody feels for everyone else when a person is having a difficult time,” Thompson said. “Hire great men and women who are talented, and treat them like family.” (Source: The Houston Chronicle)

According to CEO Chris Georgacas, “We [Goff Public (#291)] pride ourselves on being flexible to our team members’ family schedules. That includes a three-month, fully paid maternity leave and “compassionate time” rather than a set number of sick hours. Compassionate time enables people to spend the time they need to with ailing family members, take good care of themselves and take care of other unexpected situations.” (Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)

The Canadian Uranium producer Cameco (#654) provides employees with compassionate leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 8 weeks) to workers who are called upon to care for a loved one.

CustomInk (#695), a T-shirt and apparel company based in Tysons Corner, Virginia offers employees a dependent-care flexible spending account, which allows them to set aside $5,000 pre-tax for eldercare expenditures. (Source: GreatPlaceToWork)

All of the examples in this post were taken from the Green Goldfish Project. The Project is a quest to find 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe for employees. Green goldfish are the little signature extras given to employees. They help differentiate a company, reinforce culture, increase retention and drive positive WoM. The book, “What’s Your Green Goldfish?” will be published on March 29, 2013.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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