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New Study Reveals How Best Workplaces are Keeping Their Working Parents from Joining the Great Resignation

New Study Reveals How Best Workplaces are Keeping Their Working Parents from Joining the Great Resignation

If you thought for a moment that working parents were an exception to the Great Resignation, and that they were bound to their workplaces to fulfil the obligations of parenthood, you would be wrong.

This year, Great Place to Work® conducted the largest-ever study of working parents to understand their workplace experience, the unique challenges they face and how leaders can support them.

Our 2021 report, Working Parents, Burnout & the Great Resignation, revealed that while “pandemic burnout” is still impacting the well-being of working parents, Best Workplaces™ have managed to increase their level of care for parents in the workplace, leading to higher retention amongst working parents.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the U.S. labor force to its core and altered workers’ attitudes toward the employer-employee relationship, forcing employers to either reevaluate the employee experience they provide—or struggle to keep their best people.

For example, consider the relationship between employers and working parents. Parental leave policies and childcare support, once rare benefits that helped employers attract and keep working parents and parents-to-be, are well on their way to becoming table stakes. Working parents are demanding more than parental leave policies and childcare support.

After analyzing the responses of 493,082 working parents from more than 1,700 US-headquartered companies, we uncovered five keys for attracting, retaining and sustaining your working parents in 2021 and beyond.

Top 5 keys for attracting, retaining and sustaining working parents

When measured against our Trust Index™ survey statements, the top 5 keys to attracting, retaining and sustaining working parents are:

  1. Seeing benefits as special and unique for their needs
  2.  Feeling able to be themselves at work
  3. Experiencing a psychologically healthy work environment
  4. Believing leaders genuinely care about them as people
  5. Feeling treated as a full member regardless of their job role

Let’s take a look at one of these keys – and an area where Best Workplaces are excelling – by offering unique and special benefits. Special benefits that support the needs of working parents can lead to lower burnout and higher retention than at other organizations.

Parents thrive with benefits that reflect their full spectrum of needs

It’s easy to assume the needs of your working parents—and many businesses do so, without bothering to ask these employees what they actually need in order to truly thrive on the job and at home.

The result? Benefits that are well-intentioned but often incomplete or one-size-fits-all (or rather, “one-size-fits-hopefully-enough”). Benefits that don’t inspire loyalty among working parents.


This year's Best Workplaces for Parents™ offer benefits that run the gamut, such as:

  • Fertility support programs (offered at 75% of Best Workplaces for Parents, versus 38% at other companies)
  • Subsidize childcare expenses (offered at 44% of Best Workplaces for Parents versus 14% among all other companies
  • Surrogacy coverage (offered at 43% of Best Workplaces for Parents versus 11% at other companies)
  • Egg freezing coverage (offered at 58% of Best Workplaces for Parents versus 20% at other companies
  • Adoption support (offered at 66% of Best Workplaces for Parents versus 27% at other companies)

Benefits like these underscore an important point: the Best Workplaces for Parents™ 2021 make supporting parents-to-be, not just existing parents, a top priority. They know that employees who aren't yet parents, but may plan to be, will consider a company’s parental support when deciding whether or not to seek a new job.

Our research shows that investing in a workplace that truly supports working parents leads to an 86% reduction in the number of working parents who want to leave their employers.

Here’s another way to think about that finding: if 64% of working parents intend to leave their job, a typical 5,000 employee company could potentially face the challenge of refilling 1,000 positions, which is a big price to pay for not providing adequate care to your parents.

Parents thrive in inclusive and caring cultures that honor their needs and empower them to reach new heights in their careers without compromising the life they have built at home. 

If 64% of working parents intend to leave their job, a typical 5,000 employee company could potentially face the challenge of refiling 1,000 positions

Best Workplaces for Parents are setting their sights on the future and are coming up with even more innovative ways to support their working parents as they journey into, and through parenthood. Our research has revealed that at 82% of Best Workplaces, supporting parents is a benefit priority for 2022 versus 52% at other organizations.

Additionally, 32% of employers plan to prioritize expanding fertility support for their people versus 15% at other organizations.

The organizations that rapidly evolve their practices and policies to better support working parents, improve the experiences of other employees in the workplace as well.

Despite the challenges parents continued to navigate through in 2021, the experiences of employees at Best Workplaces improved overall and reports of burnout decreased.

Amid these uncertain and difficult times for working parents, the Best Workplaces for Parents have adapted to the changing needs of their people and are offering meaningful benefits helping parents thrive.

Learn more about how to support working parents, read our full report

Working Parents, Burnout & the Great Resignation. 490K+ working parents have spoken. Here are 5 keys to attracting, retaining, and sustaining them.

Download the report




Kalia Simms