With women holding only 24 percent of senior management roles in the U.S., companies are searching for new ways to attract — and retain — female talent.
For expectant women and parents-to-be, perks vary from Johnson & Johnson shipping breast milk home during business trips, Patagonia and KKR sending babysitters on the road, and Facebook and Apple paying for egg freezing.
And now, some workplaces are employing free “maternity concierges” to do everything from finding the best pediatrician to picking the perfect stroller to scoping out childcare — all while you focus on your job.
“Having these types of parental perks that speak to the employees is a definite win/win for both the companies and the employees, especially for moms who make up close to 60 percent of the workforce,” Julia Wang of TheBump.com told NBC News.
At Fifth Third Bank, maternity concierge staff are helping investment adviser Charnella Grossman prepare for baby number two, due in July.
“The maternity concierge allows me to focus on work 100 percent when I’m at work. And it allows me to focus on being home when I’m at home,” said Grossman.
Chief Administrative Officer Teresa Tanner launched the program because the bank found that women who went on maternity leave were twice as likely to leave their jobs within a year, compared to women who did not have children.
“We have to change the rules of the game,” she told NBC News. “And there are so many things that employers can do to really help women, to really understand that pregnancy is not an inconvenience.”
The service is available to all employees — including dads — at every level, from the beginning of the pregnancy until the child turns one.
When Customer Service Representative Lexus Smith found out that Baby Zavier might arrive a few weeks early, the maternity concierge planned her baby shower, scheduled doctor appointments, and picked up prescriptions as she worked full time.
“I was able to kind of sit back and take a deep breath and say you know I have someone I can lean on and someone I can you know ask for help,” said Smith.
Fifth Third Bank doesn’t charge employees for the services, which has helped nearly 170 moms and dads to be.
“It’s over a six-figure investment,” said Tanner. “But such a small investment when you really think about it. If it allows just a few more women to see a path to staying in a career that they want to stay in, this program more than pays for itself.”