The business case for organizations providing childcare support
by Ashok Pamidi
The key business case seemed to center around retention of women at lower-to-mid-levels in order to build a leadership pipeline.
Others used a marketing tactic to signal their intent as employers of choice for women.
- Internal positioning required a cost-benefit analysis presented to senior leadership, as well as justification provided mostly around the infrastructure costs and requirements for onsite daycare as well as legal and moral liability for both onsite and nearby daycare.
- The requirements and considerations are changing, especially as basic needs are met. Today, some progressive organizations are looking into providing childcare support for children with special needs, for adopted children, for night shift employees etc.
- Childcare vendors had to be vetted thoroughly through an auditing process with multiple rounds of checks and balances built in.
2) Essential considerations for organizations
- Onsite or near office?
o The top preference is onsite childcare, but that comes with associated risks and challenges. Organizations that are providing these facilities need to justify this cost. Moreover, in leased facilities versus owned, developers might not agree to build these centers.o Second preference is offsite facilities where location is a big factor. For infants and very young children, parents prefer daycare centers located closer to the organization. For older children, they prefer if the daycare is closer to their school or even home.
- Due diligence and governance is critical.
o Even before making the decision of providing childcare centers, organizations should do security audits on the providers, create a steering committee, conduct regular surprise status checks and audits, and have a parent committee.o Organizations end up having tie-ups with up to 10 or 12 different vendors in this fragmented market.o Security, emergency preparedness, facilities, and HR should all get involved.
- Costs and ROI
o While setting up childcare and support systems is an undeniable cost to organizations, the opportunity cost in losing talent is higher. Mothers unable to find childcare opt to go other places.
o Some organizations have a cost-sharing model with employees (67%-33%, 50-50%) where as they scale up, they can pass on the savings to employee.
o Arrangements with vendors differ in regards to discounts, slab-wise pricing, subsidies based on volume occupancy committed, etc. Organizations also provide an allowance in some cases to parents.
o Projecting need is tricky. 5-10% of your employee base is a rule of thumb, especially in larger organizations. But often, HR conducts trend analyses to project needs as workforce demographics keep changing.