Helping Current and Future Female Leaders Thrive at Work – and at Home 

Alliance News, Ask the Expert |

This article was originally published in the Union Leader on April 29, 2024.

There are more women in the U.S. workforce than at any other period in history. However, women are also leaving jobs at higher rates than ever before, but for good reason. According to a recent McKinsey report, women are seeking out organizations that are allow for advancement and are equitable, supportive, and inclusive.

In New Hampshire, our scorecard in this area is solid  – women make up nearly 47% of the workforce and 33% of leadership roles are held by women – but there’s still opportunity for improvement. One of the most effective ways to attract and keep women in your workforce is by prioritizing the culture and benefits that supports many of their distinct needs for overall health and wellbeing. 

Here’s some considerations as to how: 

Prioritize company-wide inclusivity and whole health

The McKinsey study found that more women leaders in the workplace were burnt out compared to their male counterparts. While there are many factors that influence burnout, many attribute it in part to the extra effort  women often give to  championing initiatives within the workforce, such as diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) or being proactive in helping manage burnout for their direct reports. To retain and better support women leaders going forward, organizations should prioritize well-being and DE&I at every level and encourage whole health support – physical and mental — to foster a culture of compassion.

Build benefits with multigenerational families in mind

For women, their professional job is just one of many responsibilities they might have in addition to taking care of their home, family and even caring for elderly parents. According to the Family Caregiving Alliance, more than 75% of caregivers are women, who are tasked with splitting their energy and focus between two full-time responsibilities. Having health benefits that support individual and family health can help reduce the stress and burden that comes with caring for multiple generations within their family. Consider including benefits like child- and elder-care reimbursements and concierge caregiver support services like Wellthy, which can be accessed through some Harvard Pilgrim Health Care plans.

Champion flexible behavioral health support

Having flexible resources available to your workforce is vital. Work with your health benefits carrier to ensure that your organization’s mental health support is comprehensive and includes virtual resources that provide around-the-clock access to licensed health professionals. There are additional tech-enabled self-service support resources that can be added to your existing coverage to ensure that mental well-being can be prioritized with personal and professional responsibilities.

Offer support for all life stages

Family planning, pregnancy and postpartum support are often core components of health benefits coverage. However, employers should consider the needs of a female workforce at all life stages, and menopause support should also be part of the conversation with your health benefits carrier. Ask your carrier about the types of resources that might be available to individuals in this life stage.

We are committed to being with our customers and members on the path to better health, every step of the way. No matter where you are on your journey, turn to a trusted, local partner. Harvard Pilgrim’s health plans are crafted with local decision-making that’s based on what your workforce will value and need.

Kathryn Skouteris is the Vice President, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care – New Hampshire Market