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What employees really think of your abortion policies

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. If you haven’t yet taken a work break to gaze upon the images of our 13-billion-year-old universe from the James Webb Space Telescope, then you are definitely working too hard. You’re welcome. Today: Workers are still concerned with how their companies are protecting their privacy when they’re helping to pay for abortion travel, smart tech is encouraging warehouse workers to lift with good form and why it’s time to get better at onboarding new employees.

Abortion benefits need more privacy controls

Even before Roe v. Wade was officially overturned, tech companies were using the opportunity to tout their new reproductive health benefits for workers. But what do the employees think about how their companies responded? A recent survey says it’s complicated.

The online job search company Indeed surveyed over 1,000 employees following the SCOTUS decision about their sentiments relating to their employers’ abortion health care and travel policies, or lack there of. The findings were clear: Most employees want their employers to take some kind of action in terms of expanded health care benefits, but there’s nuance to how they want them to do it.

Most employees want their employers to do something:

  • 89% of professionals responded that it’s important to them that their company offers reproductive health benefits.
  • And the number of companies willing to do so has gone up significantly over the past month. 43% of people said their company announced the addition of abortion care assistance to their benefits package — whereas before the SCOTUS ruling only 17% reported having access to such benefits.
  • For most employees (73%), expanded benefits are coming in the form of financial assistance for abortion care services, while 60% said their new benefits provide financial assistance specifically for travel expenses.

Employees say the support is not all-encompassing. There is some nuance to what and who companies will and will not cover.

  • According to the survey, 54% of people said abortion care assistance is provided only to full-time employees.
  • Only about a third (32%) responded that their newly expanded benefits cover the time off needed to receive care.

Employees still have some major privacy concerns.

  • 82% of respondents who have access to abortion care assistance said their benefits program requires them to disclose their abortion needs to their direct manager.
  • 15% of the people who said they’re required to disclose their abortion needs to a direct manager said they wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so.
  • In fact, most employees (74%) said they’re worried about their privacy if they did choose to use their company’s policy. 72% of people at the time of the survey said they are concerned about the legal implications.

Because of this, leaders say it’s more important than ever to communicate these new benefits in a clear and effective way so they don’t go unused by your workforce. Scott Dobroski, VP of corporate communications at Indeed, shared some best practices for communicating and deploying these more sensitive benefits.

  • Keep it transparent and consistent: “What employers and leaders want to think about when they deliver this information is how are they doing it in a transparent, helpful way that is consistent with this recent news item, but also other current events that will unfold in the future,” he said.
  • When delivering important benefits information, do what makes sense for your organization: “Remember this is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Dobroski. “Each employer should look at who they are as a business and an employer, and whoever is best to deliver the information related to a new policy or benefit should deliver that information. So depending on how small you are, or how big you are, it could be the CEO, it could be the CHRO or it could be someone with another job title.”
  • Last, it’s important to understand that you can't please everyone. Dobroski said it’s best to be as transparent as possible with employees about how and why you’re responding to the current events in a certain way while also acknowledging that all employees may not agree. “You want to provide support for all employees, whether they agree with you or not,” he said.
— Amber Burton, reporter (email | twitter)

Work spot

There’s a leaderboard that ranks you against your teammates. There’s a vibrating plastic rectangle that straps to your hip, your belt or your back. Earn enough points, and you might even win a prize: headphones or maybe a flat-screen TV.

But this isn’t laser tag — this is an industrial warehouse.

Tech startups like Kinetic, Modjoul and StrongArm, inspired by the popularity of Fitbits, Apple Watches and other consumer wearables, are selling similar devices to companies like Walmart and Amazon with the promise they’ll reduce the nagging — and costly — problem of worker injuries. The pitch: Give watches, belts or harnesses to every worker; track their movements and record their data; buzz them whenever they make an unsafe move and watch injury rates drop.

Read the full story.


Thinking outside your wall: How the path to net zero requires a new approach to collaboration and knowledge sharing:The emissions that make up a full greenhouse gas footprint can emanate from outside the four walls of your own manufacturing operations, like in the case of PepsiCo, where 93% of emissions come from its value chain.

Read more from Pepsico

How to fix your employee onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial element of employee retention and satisfaction, and yet recent findings from Time is Ltd. revealed that companies are missing the mark. The employee engagement platform surveyed more than 1,300 employees at tech and finance companies across the U.S. and Europe and found the following:

  • The average new hire has a network within their companies that is about 50% smaller than those with longer tenures.
  • Even after a full year at a company, new hires are still only fully collaborating with about 68% of the colleagues and external partners they need to be doing their job effectively.
  • Onboarding effectiveness, or the ability for new hires to build a network among their colleagues like their longer-tenured co-workers, decreased 16% over the year and was already 40% lower than it was pre-pandemic.

— Michelle Ma, reporter (email | twitter)

More stories from us

Young computer scientists are vying for jobs in corporate AI, but their dismissive attitudes toward ethical concerns could be dangerous.

The main mandate for a CEO is to make money. So why do so many of them act like politicians?

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Remote work is worse for new workers. (The Atlantic)

Another COVID-19 darling is cutting its staff. (@GergelyOrosz)

Apple’s self-driving car program has stalled due in part to bad managers. (The Information)

If your co-worker thinks chocolate milk comes from brown cows, be careful correcting them. (Reddit)


Thinking outside your wall: How the path to net zero requires a new approach to collaboration and knowledge sharing: Asking suppliers and associated companies to overhaul the way they work is no small feat, but PepsiCo is taking a three-pronged approach centered around the principles of educating, enabling and incentivizing. The Sustainability Action Center aims to engage and equip value chain partners with tools to undergo their own sustainability journey.

Read more from Pepsico

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