PBS Boosts Employee Engagement with Lactation Benefits


We’re pleased to kick off our Stories of Kinship series, where we talk with industry leaders who value working parents as much as we do, with the iconic public broadcaster PBS. Our work with PBS began three years ago, when we collaborated with the nonprofit to help them expand its family-friendly benefit offerings for employees. Learn more about how one of America’s most beloved institutions lifted up its new parents, grew engagement and furthered its mission to create an inclusive culture.

Professional Women Collaborating

Bringing the PBS Mission to Life through Family-Friendly Employee Benefits

With such memorable shows as Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theater and PBS Newshour, nonprofit PBS has built an extraordinary legacy of service as a cultural touchstone and trusted source of information for more than 50 years. Today, with more than 330 member stations, PBS reaches more than 120 million people through television and 26 million people online.

The public broadcaster is the winner of countless television awards for its diverse and exceptional programming, and has also received accolades for its role as an employer, including a Best Workplaces for Commuters recognition by the National Center for Transit Research. PBS strives to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment and takes a holistic DEI approach to create a community of care.

Seeking New & Creative Ways to Support First-Time Parents

With a workforce that’s 60% female and primarily women of child-bearing age, PBS experienced a significant increase in employees requesting parental leave. The organization recognized the tremendous hurdles new parents faced when returning to work and began exploring new ways to help ease the transition.

Lactation benefits emerged as an option that could reduce stress for mothers and be implemented easily within a short timeframe. PBS collaborated with Medela’s Kin team to devise a solution that met the needs of first-time parents while also staying within its benefits budget. Engagement was also a priority; PBS wanted the benefits to be meaningful and easy to use for busy working parents.

Empowering Breastfeeding Parents with 24/7 On-Demand Lactation Help

Employees who are new to breastfeeding and expressing milk need all the support they can get to meet their infant feeding goals. PBS met that need with a 24/7 virtual support program that provides access to pediatric nurses via phone and lactation consultants via live video chat both prenatally and after baby arrives.

New parents gain peace of mind knowing they can reach an expert anytime, even in the middle of the night. The new program is built with optimum engagement in mind, including a series of touchpoints handled by Kin to remind parents of all the benefits available. The program kicks off with a celebratory gift box that includes welcome materials, a onesie for baby and other gift items. Feedback shows that new parents appreciate the thoughtful acknowledgment of such a life-changing event.

Parents also have access to a host of other resources, including  Medela Breastfeeding University, a collection of online courses and videos to help new parents, and the Medela Family App, an award-winning resource for breastfeeding support. Another resource is the Medela Insurance Concierge, a service that makes getting an insurance-covered breast pump simple and stress-free.

Driving Engagement with Cost-Effective Support

Now in its third year, PBS continues to receive positive feedback from program participants who indicate that the 24/7 lactation support is especially helpful.  According to PBS’s Director of Employee Benefits, Blanca Gozalez Karim, the rollout was smooth, on time and didn’t require any heavy lifting on  the part of the organization. She also felt that the program was a cost-effective way to build goodwill and engagement.

“Offering new parents access to round-the-clock experts for questions about their baby has been a great addition to our benefits package,” said Karim. “We’ve seen an increase in engagement from our employees as they get ready to go out on parental leave, which makes it easier for us to support them through their journey as new parents.”

Providing breast milk can be challenging under the best of circumstances. PBS found a way to boost morale and alleviate stress for new parents who are balancing work and family responsibilities.