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3 HR Trends Impacting Childcare for Working Parents

We can all agree that HR trends have been pretty unpredictable as of late! Since the Covid-19 pandemic started in early 2020, HR teams and employees have been in constant flux at work and home. Employees in all industries, especially working parents, had to learn how to navigate a very different world of work. 

Then in 2021, while company leaders hoped that Covid-19 vaccines would bring us all back to some level of normalcy, employees were beginning to ask new questions about their jobs and family priorities. Then, more employees than ever before started resigning from their jobs, especially working mothers.

Enter Stage Left: The Great Resignation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from April 2021 to November 2021, 15 million US workers left their jobs. 4.4 million of these resignations were in September alone. In October 2021, the Atlantic reported that resignations would only accelerate in 2022. 

A key contributing factor to this new trend is the cost and availability of childcare. Due to entrenched gender roles, even now, women continue to resign at higher rates than men.

In a way, 2020’s challenges for working parents brought on 2021’s retention challenges for employers. Now, HR leaders preparing for 2022 are left wondering what the future of work looks like. What they do know, is that if they want to retain employees with families, they’ll need to do more for parents. 

Below are three key childcare trends that all HR professionals should be aware of in 2022.

      1. Benefits: New Investments in Voluntary Benefits, Especially Childcare Benefits

Dan Schawbel, a best-selling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, wrote that in 2022, “people will no longer tolerate companies that treat them poorly, and they’ll hold employers to a higher standard than ever before.”

Schawbel highlighted that for employees, a high salary isn’t enough anymore. Among other improvements, employees looking for better benefits. The majority of companies agree, reporting that they’ll need to increase voluntary benefits if they want to compete for talent.

Care Benefits Are On the Rise

According to Willis Towers Watson, backup care and elder care benefits are among the most widespread benefits that employers either currently offer or will offer in 2022. Other care benefits recommended for 2022 include childcare locator services and onsite childcare.

Care benefits create a safety net for employees balancing work and care responsibilities. Like other important benefits, care benefits help employees and employers because they improve the employee’s quality of life both in and outside of work. Although care benefits were offered before the pandemic, 2020 exposed a childcare gap that has been pushing parents out of work for decades, particularly working mothers. 

Care benefits satisfy another 2022 benefits trend: individualization. 

Care benefits like backup care can also be structured individually. This makes these benefits useful for employees who have unique circumstances and require flexibility. Whether they have young children or elderly family members, care benefits will help.

Although not care related, it’s worth noting that Willis Towers also reported that the five fastest-growing benefits are: 

  • Identity theft
  • Hospital indemnity 
  • Pet insurance
  • Critical illness
  • Group legal

    2. HR Tech: Diversity Equity and Inclusion - From DEI Training to People Analytics and DEI Tech

For years, proactive human resource strategies have included a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy. In 2022, these strategies will have new, advanced software tools to track DEI progress. 

Traditional Approaches to DEI

Traditional DEI strategies usually include recruitment plans, employee experience programs, and training focused on DEI skill development. 

Companies have had mixed results. I fact, many companies have found that these traditional DEI strategies are floundering. Either recruitment efforts have been lackluster, training has either not worked or backfired, or turnover has damaged DEI gains. 

The HR tech industry noticed these struggles.

Advanced People Analytics for DEI

In 2022, HR pros will see a new data-driven trend in workplace DEI. DEI software companies like, Eqtble, and Visier are helping companies move from traditional DEI efforts to people analytics.

This new trend presents an opportunity for employers to track their progress and create measurable goals. It will also help employers understand their employees' needs, including benefits needs.

Benefits software tools drive DEI.

Other software tools on the market, like Helpr, will continue to drive DEI goals in 2022. At Helpr, our care benefits software has streamlined care benefits use. Helpr drives DEI because it helps working mothers manage care without having to miss work.

The pandemic highlighted the need for tools like Helpr, as surveys showed that women, particularly women of color, were impacted the most by the pandemic. When schools and practically the entire childcare industry shut down, mothers left work more often than men to take on new care responsibilities and even their family’s early childhood education.

        3. Work-Life Balance: Increased Scheduling Flexibility, Remote Work, and Hybrid Work

HR Trends reported that one of the biggest trends for 2022 would be a flexible workforce. What flexibility looks like will depend on the industry. Korn Ferry, an organizational consulting firm, also found that flexibility is here to stay. According to its 2022 Future of Work trends report, companies will be formalizing hybrid work models next year. 

Generally, flexibility includes: 

  • Remote work
  • Hybrid work schedules
  • Flextime policies

Of course, employees working from home isn’t a novel idea. Some companies have had remote workers for years. In 2022 however, flexible working environments will likely become more normal rather than exceptional. According to Korn Ferry, flexible working will be key for companies looking to reduce talent shortages.

Flexibility and Childcare

During the shutdown, most companies sent their employees home, creating a whole new population of remote workers. Children were sent home as well, causing working parents to deal with new childcare challenges while working full-time.

Many parents with children decided to resign from their jobs to take on childcare responsibilities. Even before the pandemic, it was common for a parent—more often a working mother—to leave their career to take on care responsibilities because it was the most affordable choice. 

Now, as the world returns to a new era of work, parents who made large adjustments or resigned during the pandemic are asking employers for more flexibility. Flexible schedules will become the norm next year because the companies who lost these talented employees want them back.