Breast milk shipping services? A free personal concierge to do your errands? Office buddy systems? If you’ve never heard of these unusual employee benefits, you probably will soon. Companies are starting to offer an array of outside-the-box employee incentives to women in order to attract and keep female talent, especially at management levels.
Although compensation is still the main driver for job satisfaction for both women and men, studies show that women value work-life balance and professional development incentives more than men. For some women, this may translate into stronger mentoring, career networking or onsite recreational facilities. For others, it might be paid maternity leave, onsite daycare centers and flexible work hours.
Firms that are quick in identifying women’s greatest needs and turn them into workplace perks earn the loyalty of female staff and boost their reputations as a place where women want to work.
Check out this list of the top eleven companies offering the best employee benefits for women.
The perks at this tech giant are legendary -who hasn’t heard about the free gourmet meals? Google is serious about keeping employees happy. That means women are promoted at the same rate as men, and are supported through peer and mentoring groups like Women@Google and Google Women in Engineering. New moms (and dads) receive "baby bonding bucks": a chunk of spending money to help pay for start-up baby costs, and, in the U.S. mothers receive five months of 100 percent paid maternity leave. Busy moms can have errands done for them -think booking tickets or picking up groceries- by a Google-sponsored concierge service. Home office and flexible work hours are also allowed in some cases.
An international health products company, offers a slew of "work life programs" to benefit women, including adoption assistance, no-cost counseling on personal and family topics, free onsite child care or subsidies for offsite daycare, reimbursement for fertility treatments, and the Mothers at Work Program, which provides 24/7 breastfeeding counseling and support. Others perks include alternative work schedules, professional development programs galore, global mentoring, and women’s employee networks.
Fifty percent of the top salary earners at this global lodging chain are women, and it’s no accident. Marriott is committed to promoting from within and does so through a host of employee development programs. Their Emerging Leader Program in the Americas targets talented young employees, especially women, and gets them on the fast track to senior-level success. The company’s obsession with a healthy workplace ethos means there’s an array of wellness program, while employees are also allowed flexible work schedules, too.
4. Ernst & Young
Working in a professional-services company normally means crazy hours. But EY stands out as a company that "gets it" when it comes to work-life balance. Alternative schedules, including remote and mobile work options for working moms are common. Paid maternity leave is standard as is transition coaching for mothers reentering their jobs. EY’s aggressive promotion of talented women is accomplished through a two-year leadership program, and an international professional women’s network.
Remember the breast milk thing? The consulting and services company allows traveling moms to express-ship breast milk to their babies back home, and offers them a range of flex-work options, like compressed work weeks and reduced hours. U.S.-based female employees also receive sixteen weeks of fully-paid maternity leave and can take part in the Maternity Returners Program. Accenture customizes training programs for female employees and provides professional growth opportunities through its one-on-one mentoring program and a global women’s network.
The social media leader jogs alongside Google when it comes to benefits -except for the now-famous cyropreservation perk, where women can have their eggs frozen for the future on the FB health plan. Moms get 4 months of paid maternity leave, a cash baby bonus and reimbursement for daycare fees. Work-from-home Wednesdays are a norm in the company, but many telework more than that. Women make up 32 percent of the FB workforce -that number has been steadily increasing, as have the number of senior female staff.
With a woman owning the CEO suite, Deloitte knows a thing or two about identifying and promoting female leaders. The worldwide consulting services firm has a well-established women’s network, and professional growth knows no bounds -Deloitte boasts its own university, a fellowship program, women’s leadership development programs, and a buddy system that matches up-and-coming women with mentors for up to two years. The biggest benefit for mothers here is the work-life balance. Employees can get creative with their schedules and even take sabbaticals for personal reasons.
This global audit, tax and advisory services firm starts grooming female employees for leadership early on. Senior associates may take part in the Managing Career-Life Strategies Program, which helps them identify their personal and professional goals and set a path to achievement. Then, they can take advantage of mentoring, coaching and technical training through the KPMG Business School. A Women’s Advisory Board also oversees their progression and provides helpful guidance. New moms receive sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave, and generous adoption benefits. Flexible working arrangements are common, especially home office.
Female leaders rule in this pharmaceutical firm, 60 percent of business units are headed by women. Many come up through the Executive Female Leadership Program or are given a boost by in-house women’s networks and generous tuition reimbursement for employees who pursue MBAs. Working moms at Novartis can expect generous child care assistance and flexible work options.
10. Johnson & Johnson
As the world’s largest health care company with women holding 40 percent of senior management posts, J&J proves that perks for women work. These include the Women’s Leadership Initiative, a network of chapters across that U.S. that works to promote women internally. A group of top-level female executives called the Executive Forum identifies and sponsors junior women for advancement. Wellness options include onsite gyms at many J&J locations, exercise reimbursement, health seminars, and flexible working arrangements. Mothers who give birth receive seventeen weeks of paid leave (in the U.S.), and there are generous perks for adoptive moms, too. Daycare is offered at many facilities.
11. Procter & Gamble
The international consumer products manufacturer tenaciously recruits and promotes women by rolling out some excellent perks. Women now make up over 30 percent of their senior executive leadership. Training and employee development top the list, supported by P&G’s many training programs, varied assignments, generous tuition reimbursement, and the Corporate Women’s Leadership Team (CWLT), a group that advances mentoring and sponsorship for potential female leaders. Flexible hours and work-from-home options are another area where P&G excels. All new moms can take up to one year of unpaid maternity leave, and employees may take up to three months of unpaid time off to pursue personal interests.
Some perks may seem extravagant, but companies aren’t dumb. They study employee retention matrices carefully and know that female-friendly benefits attract talent and keep it at home. This is especially true for women in tech and engineering companies, where fewer female graduates in technical degree areas mean fewer qualified women entering the workforce. As companies continue to compete for the best women candidates, they’ll be laying down even more lavish incentives –watch for it.