Working parents deserve recognition and support. From juggling back-to-back meetings while caring for children, and adapting to an evolving workplace throughout the pandemic, working parents have a lot on their plates. Now more than ever, companies must step up to support parents so they can be the happiest, healthiest versions of themselves.
Many companies have answered the call: From new health benefits, to new strategies for keeping people safe and healthy, there’s been no shortage in innovation around employee experience since the start of the pandemic. Research by the Economist, which was sponsored by Cigna, has found that healthy employees are more productive, and businesses with productive employees generate more revenue, broader economic growth and community vitality.
Cigna is committed to supporting the health and well-being of its workforce, and we are so proud to announce that we have been recognized by Seramount (formerly Working Mother Media), in its annual list of the 2021 100 Best Companies. The recognition spotlights how organizations have helped parents and caretakers with time off, flexible hours, and other benefits during COVID-19. We have also been recognized on Seramount’s list of 2021 Best Companies for Dads.
“We’re honored to be recognized for Cigna’s commitment to working parents,” said Susan Stith, vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, civic affairs and the Cigna Foundation. “Our working parents encountered the challenges of adapting including working remotely, helping children with virtual school, being caregivers overall, and handling the added stresses while maintaining professions. “Being a working parent isn’t easy, and those challenges have been amplified the past year and a half. Cigna is proud to foster a workplace that helps our colleagues balance their lives at work and at home.”
As part of this recognition process, Cigna also nominated two employees for Working Mother and Working Father of the Year.
“In the face of all I’ve had to deal with over the last nine months, my determination, strength and dedication have allowed me to continue to be a strong and productive employee, while keeping my family strong and successful as well,” said Jamie Sigfrid, customer service supervisor and Cigna nominee for Working Mother of the Year.
The winners of this year’s 100 Best Companies represent nearly four million employees and were surveyed with over 400 questions around leave policies, workforce representation, benefits, childcare, advancement programs, flexibility, and more. Seramount also added specific questions about how organizations helped support working parents during COVID-19.
The results demonstrate some of the trends around how organizations are supporting working families. See below for four of the most notable.
- Expanded Mental Health Coverage: 78% of winners increased mental-health benefit coverage for employees and/or dependents throughout 2020. In response to COVID-19, Cigna expanded virtual care offerings, including wellness screenings with MDLIVE and provided digital behavioral health care tools such as Happify, iPrevail, Talkspace, and SilverCloud Health
- Workforce Flexibility: 87% of winners invested in their approach to effectively manage staff remotely. With many organizations now opening the doors of their offices for the first time in over a year, Cigna is committed to a fostering a flexible, hybrid workplace that is rooted in technology and employee-centric culture.
We are currently reevaluating when people need to be in the office and what the office is used for. Pre-pandemic Cigna had about 43% of our workforce working remotely full-time. We predict that will grow to 60% full-time remote, and 30% hybrid employees post-pandemic – and we offer flexible schedules for those whose roles require them to be onsite. As such, we’re re-designing parts of our corporate headquarters in Connecticut to ensure that spaces meet the needs of a hybrid workforce. For example, we are testing informal and formal meeting spaces, a lot of soft seating and couches, and more to ensure that the office environment meets people’s needs regardless of why they are coming in.
- Parental Leave: 88% of winners offer paid, gender-neutral parental leave compared to 67% of winners a year ago. Cigna provides all eligible employees with caregiver leave, which can be used to bond with a new child.
- Extra Paid Time Off: 73% of winners gave employees extra time off in 2020 because of COVID-19. From the onset of the pandemic, Cigna swiftly provided all employees with 10 days of emergency time off, which enabled them to stay home when ill, quarantine if needed, provide care to others, and get vaccinated.
Randy Wills, operations effectiveness director and Cigna nominee for Working Father of the Year, said that “being a parent at Cigna means a lot of things, but overall it means that I have a network of resources available to me. I am a father of two daughters, ages 12 and 10. I joined Cigna seven years ago and found that the company has a wealth of information and resources available for people of all walks of life, including being a working father like myself.”
We aspire to make healthcare more affordable, predictable, and simple, but that's our day job. It is equally important to take time for ourselves and fulfill our own personal passions.