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I'm Kellee Mikuls, I am the founder and CEO of Swishboom. Swishboom is an Omaha startup that recruits and vets sitters so that when families post a job to our verified network, they typically get claimed in about 5 to 7 minutes. Since launching in 2020, we've done over 17,000 hours of babysitting and childcare in the Omaha metro, and we now have the ability for employers to offer Swishboom as a benefit to meet your employees where they are.
Specifically your families that are struggling right now as there is a child care crisis which prompted us to reach out to The Wellbeing Partners. We are actually a partner of theirs now to talk about childcare and families, specifically families, and how we can support them. So I'm so thankful that Claire has joined us today to give us three strategies on how employers can support their family employees. Claire, thank you so much for joining us. For those who aren't familiar with The Wellbeing Partners, can you tell them your elevator pitch of what it is so that if it's something that makes sense for their company or that they know that it exists here?
Absolutely. So we are also based in Omaha. We do a lot of work with different Nebraska organizations and businesses. We essentially work with partners who share in that common goal of having happy, healthy people and all the places where we live, work and play. So in my role as the Child and Family Wellbeing coordinator, that looks like supporting schools or community organizations that care for children and also supporting employers. So helping adults who care for children understand their developmental needs and how the choices that we make impact their mental health and also how we can practice brain based strategies with our children to help reduce parental stress. As an organization we do lots of other work as well around mental health, around physical wellbeing, really just helping to create environments where people can thrive and be their best.
That's awesome. Claire, can you for those that are here in Omaha, can you maybe say some of your partners or some of the companies that you guys work with that have brought you in to benefit from kind of your knowledge base and your resources?
Yeah, absolutely. We have a growing list of partnerships and that's fully available on our website.We work with Omaha Public Power District Union, Pacific Blue Cross, Blue Shield, CHI, Nebraska Medicine, you know, the list is quite lengthy and we're excited for our many partnerships that we get to be a part of in the community as well.
And Swisboom’s excited to be part of Wellbeing partners. It seemed like a natural fit for us, just as we are all here in Omaha specifically trying to make the lives of families better. I always tell people about Omaha, it's a great place to raise a family and you've got some of these amazing startups and amazing nonprofits and companies that are trying to do just that.
So before we jump into the three strategies, you and I were chatting before this call about what are you what since COVID has happened, what's been kind of the biggest shift from what employers are feeling, where employers are feeling the pain, you know, and families where what are what are you seeing the most kind of on your side?
People are talking about families. And before we had the attitude of, you know, you come to work, you do your work, you are an employee, and then you go home and you get to be a parent. But COVID really just kind of opened that rift, right? So now instead of having to keep everything separate, we can be our whole selves all the time. And a lot of times that means we're juggling lots of things simultaneously. So yes, we're working, but we're also parenting. We're working from home, we're parenting from home, and everything is happening in real time. So that was hard and it continues to be hard. However, it's created an opportunity for us to really take a look and see, okay, maybe we don't have to divide ourselves and be an employee and then be a parent. Maybe we can be our whole selves at work and we can be our whole selves parenting. And that's created these conversations around, you know, what is the employer or the organization's role in supporting these working parents and what do they need and how does that fit into our kind of employee support packages and our goals here as an organization? And so we're really excited to hear different organizations having those conversations and talking about these things and getting creative as they try to meet some of those needs in their employees.
I see that more and more in our conversations. We have about 3 to 4 conversations a week with employers and you're starting to see, you know, them trying to tackle the problem, the different problems as it relates to families, you know, whether it's trying to get more people to come into the office and trying to find incentives to do that or being more flexible in their remote work and allowing families to work from home and understanding that, you know, things happen.
So we'll start with number one, Claire, we kind of prompted this to you. What first came to mind if an employer is like, where do we even start? Like, how do we assess if we even have a problem?
Absolutely. So that's the first step, right? Assessment. So my first suggestion, always talk to your employees, find out what their needs are, and kind of see where needs might be overlapping with other people at your organization. And then we consider how your employee benefits and the support packages might be able to be adjusted to fit those current needs. Sometimes we do hear some pushback on this idea because supports for parents don't necessarily benefit everyone. But if we think back to the old school approaches around employee wellness programs, we can look at examples like, you know, diabetes management programs or smoking cessation programs that also didn't necessarily benefit everyone, but had been very common in the corporate world historically.
And that's because we care about our employees. And we want them to be happy and healthy and at their best. And in those ways, these kinds of programs truly do benefit everyone because we all benefit when everyone is working at their best. And thinking about supporting families is that same strategy. Stressed, overwhelmed parents need support to be healthy and to be at their best, and even more importantly, I would add, those kids will also reap the benefits of a supported parent.
So the first step is really talking and figuring out, you know, what are the needs, and then maybe making a little bit of a mind shift around the organization's role in supporting those working parents.
And for that number one strategy, do you suggest employers do this in the form of a survey or town hall? What do you guys usually suggest for them to collect that type of data without bringing in a huge cost? Because we know, you know, hiring some consultants. There's a lot of pushback on budgets, but how do we get that information in real time to be able to make these type of kind of ideas of what's going on?
I don't think there's a blanket suggestion that's going to be right for every organization. I think a lot of it's going to depend on the size of the organization we're talking about. You know, a bigger organization might need to do a more informal survey, something quick and easy for their employees to fill out and indicate some needs. And that is something that we do help our partners with surveys, you know, for wellness programing needs. But other organizations and I can just have informal conversations. You know, these kinds of things might be happening during annual reviews, where are the gaps in your your need for support here and how can our organization be filling those gaps, whether that's a formal conversation or an informal conversation, just being present with the team, you know, at lunch and the chit chat is happening, you know, taking advantage of those opportunities to kind of hear what the climate is and then finding those gaps that you could fill.
So number two, strategy, what's the second strategy you've figured out? Maybe some of the feedback. Now, what do you do?
Yeah. So what do you do when recognize that need for family support programs? And you have kind of matched those goals to what's being communicated by your employees, what their needs are. A great start has been to begin connecting employees to resources that are already available in the community. So kind of thinking about some different needs that you might be hearing. Are they having a hard time accessing high quality, affordable child care? Well, the Nebraska Child Care Referral Network and Nebraska Cares for Kids can help parents find and identify quality care in their area.
And there are similar programs happening in Iowa and in other states as well. Maybe your employees are feeling isolated in their parenting journey. It's a lot. They're having a lot of need for community. Then maybe you can create some peer support opportunities for employees to get together, to commiserate, to support one another. And that's a really low cost option that can make a really big impact for overall well-being.
You can also talk about what other kinds of programs have already been developed in your community that your employees might not know about there. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing some research on what's out there and then providing those resources to your community.
So for your employer partners, is that something that The Wellbeing Partners would kind of be able to quarterback or be able to show them resources or kind of put together options?
That is one of the things that we're happy to provide, kind of helping you parse out the options that are out there, share those resources. We also have a library of resources that we've been creating around different topics that link out to more resources. Sometimes it's just difficult to do that legwork. So whenever we're able to help or another partner is able to help, kind of have something created for you. And that's a much easier thing to provide to employees that way.
What's the third and final strategy that you think is a good takeaway from today?
So at this point, I would really encourage employers to consider where they can step in and provide some additional support to those working parents. Some examples of additional support could be better access to child care, either long term child care through onsite options or partnerships with other providers, as well as that child care gap coverage that we're all experiencing in the summer. Like partnering with Swishboom, that's a great resource in our community as well. Bigger policies like paid parental leave, always a hot topic, flexible work schedules or hybrid work options, babies at work policies.
There are so, so many ways that employers can be supporting employees in this way. And of course, those decisions should be informed by what those employees are asking for. As I mentioned a little bit, one of our most popular employee support programs at The Wellbeing Partners is our family wellness program. And that's where I get to come in and provide some parent education to help employees feel like they've got a better handle on parenting challenges like behaviors, mealtimes, discipline.
And this is just an example of a valuable way that many of our partners are able to support their employees in helping them feel like, okay, parenting is not on fire for me right now. I've got things under control that feels okay and I'm able to really focus on work, able to focus on family, able to focus on whatever it is that's on my horizon.
That's awesome. And you and I were chatting before this call. I have a almost 13 year old and I also have a 7 year old. So it's like I'm at different stages of it and it all feels very still, very stressful even though I've have three kids. Right. And so it's neat that you're able to kind of meet people where they're at and just give them that type of support.
I was telling you that in one of my recent employer meetings, an employer got creative and they're like, hey, we have this extra conference room that we don't use. What if we have Swishboom and we once a month we bring in three or four different sitters and we're able to do kind of a respite day where it's 4 hours for a date night, a round of golf, cleaning out that attic that you've been like walking by and you know it's driving you mad. And what that would mean to your employees if it's once a month, you know, and I think it as a parent, it would mean a lot. And it's not a huge, costly way for employers to show that they care.
You know, and I think that's kind of, Claire, to your point, is that there's there's so many different creative strategies that you can do to try and just show people that they're not alone, that we see you, that we know it's hard and we're just trying to make it a little easier because there is not a magic wand.