How Fertility Benefits Improve Employee Engagement

Employee benefits have evolved from a nice-to-have perk to being viewed as a strategic imperative by 85% of Human Resource leaders. They help attract and retain skilled employees, with 67% of younger employees stating they would move to another company if they provided a better benefits package and 78% of employees saying they would be more likely to stay with their employer due to their benefits package alone.

In recent years, fertility benefits in particular have emerged as a crucial consideration for employers wanting to centre themselves as family-friendly and inclusive, while supporting and empowering employees with their reproductive choices.

75% of employers say reproductive health benefits are important for retention. This correlates with other research indicating that 57% of employees have taken or might take a new job because they were offered better reproductive and family benefits and 72% of employees would stay with the current employer longer if offered fertility benefits.

What are fertility benefits?

Fertility benefits are employer-provided supports that help employees with their reproductive health and family-building needs. These benefits can encompass many different things including:

  • Preconception support
  • Coverage for IUI/IVF treatments
  • Fertility medications
  • Access to fertility specialists
  • Egg and sperm freezing
  • Genetic testing
  • Surrogacy and adoption assistance
  • Counselling and support groups
  • Paid leave for fertility treatments
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Education on reproductive health

How do fertility benefits improve employee engagement?

Employee engagement typically refers to the level of enthusiasm and dedication an employee feels towards their role and organisation. Businesses with high levels of employee engagement are 21% more profitable than businesses with lower employee engagement.

Both workplace situations and personal circumstances can impact an employee’s engagement. Fertility issues and undergoing treatment can cause mental, emotional, physical, and financial strain. 72% of employees say fertility issues affected their working life and 63% of individuals admit to reduced engagement at work.

However, the support that fertility benefits provide employees can make a significant difference to employee engagement in several ways:

Increased loyalty and retention

Offering fertility benefits shows employees that the company values their personal and family aspirations, fostering loyalty and reducing turnover. Employees are more likely to stay with an employer that supports their life goals, with 61% of employees who received fertility benefits saying they feel more loyal and committed to their employer.

Reduced stress and anxiety

Fertility challenges can affect an employee’s mental and emotional health. A survey by Fertility Network UK found that of people who are experiencing or have previously experienced fertility issues, 91% have suffered anxiety, 89% have dealt with stress and 88% have had depression. Providing fertility benefits can help alleviate stress and give employees the tools to better navigate adverse feelings, allowing employees to focus better on their work.

Enhanced inclusivity and diversity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critical aspects of a great workplace culture. A survey of people across the UK, US, Canada, India, and Mexico found that three-quarters consider fertility benefits to be an important component of an inclusive company culture and 40% of employers offer them as part of their DEI strategy.

This is because fertility benefits support diverse family-building options, including for LGBTQ+ employees and single parents. This fosters an inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued and supported, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Increased productivity

36% of employees have taken increased sickness absence when experiencing fertility challenges and 63% say they struggled to focus, concentrate, or prioritise tasks at work whilst undergoing treatment.

Employees who have access to fertility treatments and support are better equipped to balance their work responsibilities with their family-building journey, leading to reduced presenteeism and better productivity.

Financial relief

Fertility treatments can be expensive, with 48% of people going through fertility treatment saying they have significant financial worries. Offering fertility benefits, and particularly coverage for treatment and medication, reduces the financial burden on employees, which in turn decreases financial stress and allows them to better focus in their roles.

Less stigma and discrimination

Only 47% of people going through fertility treatment tell their boss about it, with 2 in 3 not revealing when they take time off for fertility-related medical appointments. Moreover, 35% of employees who have had fertility treatment feel it is a taboo topic in the workplace and almost a quarter who were honest about their situation said they experienced unfair treatment as a result.

By embracing a family-friendly, inclusive workplace culture through fertility benefits, employers demonstrate that they fully support their employees which in turn can increase transparency and reduce workplace stigma surrounding fertility challenges and reproductive choices.

Overall, there are clear indications that providing fertility benefits to employees has a positive impact on not only their well-being but also on business outcomes. Despite this, only 17% of UK businesses and 37% of global employers currently offer them. If employers want to improve employee engagement, bolster their DEI strategies and make a marked difference to the lives of their employees, then fertility benefits should be at the top of their list.