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What companies can do for working parents as Covid-19 cases rise

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Kevin Delaney, Charter Co-founder & CEO, talks the need for flexibility among working parents in order to fix company retention problems amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: --for the last several months. And that struggle for firms likely to continue now, at least according to a new survey out from Willis Tower Watson, pointing to an overwhelming majority of firms saying they expect these challenges to last well into next year.

Let's bring in Kevin Delaney, Charter co-founder and CEO. And, Kevin, of course, this is something that you've been following for some time now. What are we hearing more about how companies are approaching this issue of retention, especially for working parents who've had to juggle so much over the course of the pandemic?

KEVIN DELANEY: Yeah. So, Akiko, this is an issue we've been talking about, as you said, but it's just getting more acute. Some people are talking, and there are probably two things going on. First is this idea of a great resignation or this YOLO economy where people are fed up over the last 18 months. Workers are empowered, and they're looking around for jobs. The number of percentage of workers is very high. Some surveys put it at 40%. Some have actually put it at 60% of workers are actually considering other jobs at this point-- professional white collar workers.

And so there's a very acute question. And in talking to leaders of companies, I'm really hearing a lot of people grappling very much with this at this point, both recruiting and retaining workers. There's this separate issue of working parents. People are hoping that the return to the school year, that the issues around child care and schooling for their kids would be resolved.

But the fact is that we've seen over 1,000 schools in 35 states have actually already in this present school year had to close for infection related reasons, whether it's temporarily or indefinitely. And so that problem is not going away, and so employers are having to really grapple with that right now as well.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, that makes, I guess, the battle for talent more intense here, too. What does that maybe do to adding some of the other perks that we've seen not only on I guess the health care front, but as you're talking about school and potential closures there, maybe adding some of these things to benefits for their workers to make sure they do stay on?

KEVIN DELANEY: Yeah, so for working parents specifically, there are three things that actually seem to make a difference. The first one is working parents need flexibility, and this is especially true right now with a lot of schools closing and childcare really not having fully come back. And so what this means is a lot of the asynchronous, hybrid, remote arrangements that companies are using can actually be pretty good for working parents to give them the flexibility to look after their kids.

The second thing is benefits, and this includes extending some of the childcare benefits and financial support that was extended during the beginning of the pandemic. Now, a lot of that was due to expire-- extending that.

And the third thing is culture, just having a work culture where people can actually deal with the child care issues that they're having and not be penalized, not feel like they won't get good assignments, or promoted, or raises. So those are the three things in this, for working parents specifically, that companies can do.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, workplace culture and flexibility something we've heard over and over in terms of what exactly employees are seeking now beyond higher wages. Kevin Delaney, always good to talk to you-- Charter co-founder and CEO.

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