To stay relevant in this labor market, manufacturing companies need to offer modern and competitive benefits to attract and retain workers. Since many millennials and Gen Z workers value work-life balance, they often prioritize the perks of the job over higher pay. This is good news for manufacturing companies because raising salaries to match tech or finance companies is not always possible, especially for small manufacturers.
We're kicking off a new blog series: “Retain Your Manufacturing Workers With These 7 Modern Benefits.” In this series, we’re breaking down offerings that your manufacturing company can provide to stay competitive...and when we say “modern benefits,” we’re not talking ping pong tables in the break room or onsite acupuncture like certain tech behemoths offer. We mean practical and realistic perks that contribute to your workers’ well-being. Each week, we will detail a different offering and supply examples of manufacturers successfully pulling off this perk to motivate you.
Retain Your Manufacturing Workers With These 7 Modern Benefits
Table of Contents:
Part 1: Family Benefits & Perks
Part 4: Employee Engagement Activities
Part 5: Flexible Hours & Location Policies
Part 6: Wellness Stipend & Mental Health Benefits
Part 7: Access to Innovative Technology
This week, we’re taking a look at family benefits and perks ranging from extended parental leave to work-from-home options.
Part 1: 7 Family Benefits & Perks to Retain Working Parents
1. Extended paid parental leave
You may be apprehensive to extend parental leave, because it means being short a worker and losing productivity for that much longer. So, why would an employer choose to extend leave? It reinforces job security, which is a high priority for parents with greater financial responsibility. When it comes down to it, paid leave increases “employee morale, productivity and labor force attachment once new parents (particularly mothers) return to work," (Scholars). This short term loss will actually bolster productivity in the long run.
This benefit will also make your manufacturing company more competitive in the labor market because less than half of U.S. employers offer paid leave. About 40% of employers offer paid parental leave in the U.S., and the average length of paid parental leave is four to six weeks.
What manufacturers are breaking records here? Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceuticals and manufacturing) offers birth moms 18 weeks of paid leave. All new parents (partners or paternal, adoptive and foster parents) will have 10 weeks of paid leave. On top of that, any new parent can take 10 weeks of unpaid leave.
2. Work-from-home flexibility
Parents need to work from home occasionally when a child is sick or needs special attention. That said, they may also want to work from home on the average day because it decreases their costs and increases their time. It will eliminate their commute time, save them money on childcare costs and allow for flexibility in hours so they can open up their schedules and spend more time with their children.
- “Employers offering at least part-time telecommuting flexibility collectively save $44 billion each year.”
- “Two-thirds of managers who offer telecommuting flexibility report that employees who work from home are overall more productive.”
- “34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely.”
- “Employers who offered a work from home option had employee turnover rates fall by over 50%.”
- “30% of employees have left a job because it did not offer flexible work options.”
Working from home is not just an option for office workers, but it’s now possible for people who need to be onsite at facilities. With the advent of augmented reality, manufacturers can now send experts home to work. By using two-way video calling enhanced with augmented reality like Ario Connect, experts can share hands-on guidance remotely. You can help onsite teammates through complicated workflows or troubleshooting by dropping augmented reality into their world.
With Ario Connect, you can:
- Draw lines in space to describe what you’re saying in quick, easy strokes
- Place directional symbols in space to give live instructions extra clarity
- Drop your 3D models into your call to indicate or explain specific parts of equipment
- Chat in-app. Communicate clearly no matter the noise level
3. Fertility treatment benefits
Offering fertility treatment coverage will not only make your manufacturing company more attractive to job seekers, it will increase worker retention. Fertility benefits send “an important message of inclusivity and support to a diverse workforce longing to start a family,” (Forbes). Keep in mind, IVF reimbursements should also be for single women and LGBTQ couples.
How does that help your bottom line? Forbes offers impressive stats from FertilityIQ: “employees who had their IVF covered reported being more likely to remain in their job for a longer period (62%), were more willing to overlook shortcomings of their employer (53%) and were more likely to work harder (22%).”
Fertility benefits are incredibly popular among working women because 13.1% of U.S. women suffer from impaired fecundity. Females are increasingly prioritizing careers and choosing to have children later in life, which in turn, increases their chances of infertility. That’s a psychological burden. Stress. Depression. Lower self-confidence. Lower productivity at work. They might even leave their current job at your company to receive fertility benefits from a competitor. To put their anxiety into perspective, here are the numbers: one round of IVF can cost $25k, and many women will go through IVF three to six times before they get pregnant.
A few large manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson offer $35k in fertility treatment coverage. According to FertilityIQ in a 2017 ranking, Conair Corporation (appliance and personal care manufacturer) was offering a whopping $100k in IVF costs, and Mars, Inc. (food and pet products manufacturer) was covering the cost of 3 cycles (around $45K) of IFV.
4. Surrogacy benefits
If you’re offering fertility benefits, you may want to take it one step further and offer surrogacy benefits. Why? Because it will foster even more diversity and inclusivity at your manufacturing company. For example, just offering fertility benefits would leave out gay couples seeking to have biological children because they would need a surrogate.
Often fertility treatment plans offered by companies exclude surrogacy costs, and sometimes companies that do offer surrogacy financial assistance keep silent because they fear workers will “fertility shop” (taking a job because of the fertility benefits).
That said, Johnson & Johnson thinks differently, because this benefit supports a small fraction of employees and is usually on a one-time basis (NPR). Peter Fasolo, Johnson & Johnson chief human resources officer tells NPR: "We wanted to be a leader in this space...They're really not that expensive, to be frank with you." Surrogacy in the U.S. can cost somewhere between $90k and $130k, an inconceivable expense for most workers, but Johnson & Johnson will reimburse you $20k per child making surrogacy a bit more realistic.
5. Adoption reimbursement
In the same way that the above benefits increase employee loyalty and boost productivity in the long run, so does offering adoption reimbursement. Not only do adoptive parents often miss out on the parental leave afforded to biological parents, but they have to pay enormous fees and expenses not covered by healthcare benefits. Typically in the U.S., you will need to go through an agency to adopt, which will run you around $43k.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption surveyed employers across the U.S. in 2020 and found that “on average, employers that completed the survey offer $10,158 in financial reimbursement, which is up 8.5% from 2019.” That only covers a quarter of the adoption cost. Johnson & Johnson pays double the average at $20k in reimbursements and Ferring Pharmaceuticals (and manufacturing) pays $25k in reimbursements. To see a comprehensive list of companies going above and beyond with adoption benefits, visit 2020’s “100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list.”
6. Milk delivery service
Milk delivery service is probably a perk you’ve never heard of before. That said, it’s one you need to know. Here’s what Kate Torgersen, founder of Milk Stork (first breast milk shipping service for working moms), has to say: “Today, 47 percent of the workforce is female and most moms are working moms. Milk Stork exists to topple the logistical and cultural barriers of pumping through industry-leading innovation and to unleash the power and potential of moms,” (Thrive Global).
A manufacturing company could benefit from a milk delivery service to keep valuable working moms on their team. When you’re sending your expert professionals to onsite locations, the mission is critical and time-sensitive. These experts must be supported in every way possible so they can show up on time and ready to work in the right mindset. What can help? Taking care of all the stress and logistics of shipping breast milk, a tiny cost but a huge benefit for a nursing worker.
7. Childcare centers & discounts
Did you know that 62% of U.S. parents say that finding affordable and high-quality childcare is difficult? And once parents have found suitable childcare, 72% of them will spend 10% of their household income on costs? That means workers needing childcare may leave your company for a higher salary to pay for these costs. Moreover, parents who remain are likely to spend some portion of their workday distracted; the average parent spends 37 hours a week worrying about their children.
Companies can mitigate certain stresses to help workers remain focused on the job and loyal to the company. One way is to offer childcare assistance. You can either offer childcare stipends, make a deal with a local childcare facility for discounted rates, or go all in and provide onsite childcare.
Johnson & Johnson perk: “We have childcare centers at six locations in the U.S. and provide discounts with a nationwide provider. Outside the U.S., we have centers at many of our sites, and offer employees discounts for childcare in at least six countries.”
That’s a wrap for “7 Family Benefits & Perks to Retain Working Parents.” Just implementing one or two of these perks can go a long way and will keep your manufacturing company ahead of the fierce labor market competition. Stay tuned for the next blog in the series “Retain Your Manufacturing Workers With These 7 Modern Benefits” where we will be covering training and career advancement.