As a mom of a 4-year-old, my only child, I’ve learned a lot.
During my pregnancy, I learned that morning sickness isn’t limited to the morning.
After my son’s birth, I learned that breast feeding could make your toes curl. And while it’s lauded as the ultimate bonding, it takes a little time to adjust.
And I learned that as he evolved from newborn to infant to toddler, poo remains a unifying theme. Somehow, this most common of biological functions would be marveled at, meditated on and in extreme conditions could prompt medical care.
It’s a scary time.
For me, a lot of my focus during my parenting journey has been to first decode the mysteries of pregnancy, and later learn about my new human and what is required of him beyond burping and boo boos.
It’s no surprise that many companies have discovered that if they offer a helping hand during this transition to parenthood, they’ll help their employees by providing a trusted resource, serve to eliminate the mystery of pregnancy and equip new families with information, tools and resources to help them have a healthy pregnancy.
And with good reason. The employee health-care costs associated with a high-risk pregnancy are significant.
An analysis by Thomson Reuters for the March of Dimes found that in private plans offered by large employers, 2007 medical costs for healthy full-term babies from birth to their first birthday averaged $4,500, of which more than $3,800 was paid by employers. For premature and/or low-birth-weight babies, the average cost was nearly $50,000, of which more than $46,000 was borne by the employer’s health plan.
That’s why many companies are finding that with a little extra effort, a solid partnership with their medical benefits providers and an employee nurse line, they can help new parents and the overall bottom line in real and meaningful ways.
But, how do you get the word out? How do you establish trust? How do you approach these prospective parents in a way that is respectful and helpful?
It’s actually easier than you might think.
- Partner with your HR leader and employee benefits provider to create an inventory of all maternity wellness programs and benefits.
- Understand all that will be available and develop a clear outline of what services are included and who is eligible.
- Because this program will likely fall under the life-change category, you’ll want to market this all year long and not limit the awareness campaign to your company’s open enrollment period.
- Develop messaging that is relevant to both moms and dads.
- Identify an advocate for the program who can share personal stories about his or her family experiences and how the program has helped.
- Review all internal channels and look for ways to create a community of new and expectant parents.
- Some companies use an intranet or online space that allows for micro-blogging.
- Enlist team members from the benefits providers to monitor and respond to questions about eligibility.
- Celebrate success and welcome new babies.
- Seek testimonials from those families who have been aided by the program.
- Request baby photos that you can post on internal channels, and welcome those babies to the new company/family and share enrollment information. Remember to request that any photo submission be accompanied by a completed talent release form.
Many new and expectant parents have a lot of questions. Providing team members with round-the-clock access to qualified and credible care helps them answer those scary parenting questions and hopefully arms them with a trusted resource to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
How does your company communicate its maternity wellness programs to employees? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your responses to us using the hashtag #mcgblog.