How Best Workplaces Winner Ro is Supporting their Working Parents

 How Best Workplaces Winner Ro is Supporting their Working Parents

Best Workplaces

Amy Vezzetti, Chief People Officer, and Julia Kanter, Director of Product Management, are committed to making their company, Ro, a better workplace for all.

They are also mothers, and like many mothers, they knew navigating the challenges of the past two years would only be possible with flexibility and support at work. Unlike many mothers, Amy and Julia can proudly say their company delivered that flexibility and support.

Clearly, Ro’s employee population agrees—their feedback helped Ro earn a spot on our Best Workplaces for Parents™ list for the first time. The company debuted at number 20 and ranked highest among small and medium-sized companies.

Ro is a direct-to-patient healthcare company that aims to make high-quality, affordable healthcare more accessible.So, it comes as no surprise that Ro places such high value on the well-being of their employees, especially working parents, who are wading through the waters of uncertainty as they navigate new ways of parenting–and working.

One striking feature of Ro’s support for working parents is that they consider the full parent lifecycle. Ro’s policies and benefits are crafted to support all parents and parents-to-be through their entire process of becoming and being a parent.

Making parents-to-be, not just existing parents, a top priority

Between generous fertility benefits, an egg freezing stipend, a transition planning program, and parental leave, their offerings are comprehensive. Ro makes it a point to offer the same amount of parental leave to both primary and secondary caregivers.

They view this equal parental leave policy as a critical contribution to not only supporting working parents at Ro but to supporting working moms in the workforce at large by encouraging an equal role in parenting for mothers and fathers (and/or primary and secondary caregivers) alike.  

Ro’s “Phase Back” program, which was introduced alongside their Parental Leave Policy, helps new parents re-enter the workforce. The program gives employees the flexibility they need to ease back into working life and tap into the skills it takes to balance parenthood and the demands of the job. 

On top of Ro’s flexible paid time off policy, the “Phase Back” program gives all parents ten extra days of PTO, which they can use to build a more flexible schedule in the first few months after returning from parental leave. 

“The Phase Back program allows people to have a flexible return -schedule,” says Amy. “You can have shorter days, or you can work a four-day week for those initial two-to-three months.”

“Speaking from personal experience, returning to work after parental leave is a very big culture shock,” Amy says. “You've transitioned out of work and are focused on parental leave - and then you have to transition back, now with both parts of your new life coexisting. Giving people a transition period to phase back into work is crucial.”  

At Ro, supporting working parents in their transition back into the workplace means listening to their needs and supporting them with the time, space and flexibility they need to thrive at work and at home. For example, in addition to the Phase Back program, Ro has an unlimited PTO policy, which further supports parents as they adjust to their new reality.

Julia stressed how impactful it was to have Ro’s support during a critical time in her life; a time where she was both welcoming another child into the world and just beginning her career at Ro.  

Julia, who went on parental leave five months after entering her new role, shared that she felt the support of her team prior to her entering the job. She hadn’t felt the discomfort or fear of sharing her future plans like many expecting mothers feel as they navigate onboarding at a new job.

Removing bias against expecting parents

Julia knew then that the support she felt was sincere and would extend far beyond her job interview. “I told my boss shortly after I joined that I was pregnant, and she was incredibly supportive and calm about it. It was everything really I could have asked for.” 

Julia also says she is also participating in a program provided by Ro which helps guide parents through taking parental leave. The program prepares parents with advice on balancing parenthood and work-life and gives team leaders like Julia tactical tools for preparing their teams for their departure and return. 

“They provided a template of how to prepare for continuity planning that I ended up using with my team. That was really helpful as a part of the transition.”

Leaders at Ro recognize how crucial it is to prioritize listening to your employees when it comes to providing the right kind of support for working parents. Both Amy and Julia referenced the role employee surveys play in fostering an equitable environment where all can thrive.  

Moms are not a monolith

Our recent research on working parents revealed that the insidious inequities that pervade the U.S. broadly, also pervade the workplace. For example, working mothers experience burnout at disproportionately high rates, and BIPOC mothers are 35% more likely to experience burnout.

Julia recognizes the overwhelming need for prioritizing cultural competency as leaders think through what policies would be most beneficial for their people.

“Working moms, and especially minority working moms, have been hit so hard by [the COVID-19 pandemic]. There's been a lot of job loss and a lot of sacrifices when it comes to things like childcare and education.” 

Compassion beyond lip service

So how does Ro empower their employees to take advantage of the policies, programs, and benefits put in place for working parents? It comes down to two things: listening and acting.

By surveying employees on a consistent basis, Ro keeps tabs on the health of their company culture. The People Experience team, under Amy’s leadership, ensures that when employees survey, they feel as though their voices are not just heard but are also amplified through action. 

Employee feedback in Ro’s Trust Index™ survey results confirms that the company’s flexibility and benefits are meaningful and impactful.

  • 93% of employees at Ro say their benefits are special and unique and
  • 91% feel encouraged to balance their work life and personal life.

“I think that it's incumbent upon every employer to make sure that they have the policies and the culture [to support working parents], Julia says. “It's not enough to just have something on paper that says ‘we support you’ if no one feels comfortable taking advantage of the policy.”

Learn how Best Workplaces support working parents, starting with listening

Tune in to the needs of your working parents with our Trust Index survey. For more insights on how listening to and supporting working parents is good for business, and good for the world, learn more from our Best Workplaces for Parents™

Kalia Simms