When every day is bring-your-kid-to-work day
When recent college graduate Hanna Arntz first interviewed for a job at Canopy, a Utah-based startup that develops practice management software for accounting firms, the recruiter asked her about her long-term career goals. Arntz wasn’t sure about what she wanted, but she was sure of one thing: She wanted to be a mom.
The recruiter told Arntz that Canopy was developing benefits for pregnant and working mothers. Arntz was interested, and accepted a position at the company in 2017. She is now a talent acquisition manager, a role that allowed her to witness the company’s development of family-friendly benefits firsthand.
“We had a lot of focus groups for parents within Canopy to understand what parents need in the workforce and how to retain them, particularly mothers,” she says.
Canopy now offers 10 weeks of maternity leave, plus a two-week ramp period where parents can work part-time to readjust to work. The company also offers two weeks of paternity leave. In addition to these policies, Canopy has an unusual offering: It allows parents to bring their newborns in to work every day up until they are about 6-months-old.
Canopy CEO Kurt Avarell says many of the employees on the more than 300-person team have children, and there is a level of understanding when new parents bring their little ones to work. The company also welcomes older children into their office from time to time.
“Pretty much any day is a bring-your-kid-to-work day,” he says. “It’s pretty typical to have kids in the office.”
Arntz gave birth to her son, Jude, seven months ago. After taking maternity leave, she returned to the office with her newborn. Initially, she was nervous about bringing him to work.
“I was worried he was going to be crying in meetings,” she says. “There was so much anxiety around that.”
Since she has returned to work, though, colleagues have not treated her any differently, she says. Balancing her work with taking care of her son can be tough, she admits, but the company has been supportive.
“Even if the baby was crying and I was bouncing him, they’d still be looking at me in the eye and engaging me in conversation,” she says.
Employers like Canopy are beginning to recognize the value of adding family-friendly benefits with many beefing up paid parental leave, breast milk shipping and free babysitting services. For example, dozens of companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, CVS Health, Dollar General, Eataly and General Mills made changes to their paid parental leave benefits in 2018. Meanwhile, Home Depot, Trip Adviser, Vox Media and Pinterest added breast milk shipping benefits, and Starbucks began offering subsidized child care as a benefit.
In addition to its maternity and paternity leave benefits, Canopy has a flexible paid time off policy that allows new parents to work from home. The company also has separate mothers’ and fathers’ rooms in the office, and provides new parents with a gift of diapers, clothes, baby care products and gift cards.
Avarell says offering family-focused benefits is a good way to retain employees because it shows workers that they are supported at home and in the office. It’s a part of Canopy’s culture that he hopes to maintain long-term.
As for Arntz, the benefits have played an integral part of her staying at the company.
“The company has invested in me for a reason,” she says. “They want to retain me.”