There’s fierce competition in Tel Aviv for high-tech jobs, so startups are always introducing perks aimed at retaining employees — an office gym, cooking demos, a weekly cocktail hour or skill-building lessons, for example.

At fintech startup Fundbox,  Human Resources and Operations Manager Jenia Medvedev listened to the water-cooler talk and concluded that one of the best benefits the five-year-old startup could offer is parenting classes.

After all, Israel is not only a high-tech hub but also has an exceptionally child-centric culture and one of the highest fertility rates in the Western world. Companies such as Tailor Brands, Payoneer, ironSource and Kaltura offer parent-friendly arrangements that may include paternity leave, flex hours and time off for the first day of school.

“The current talk is that what employees want most of all is to improve their work-life balance. We have a lot of young parents here who are struggling to find the best practices to raise their children,” Medvedev tells ISRAEL21c.

“So we decided that instead of offering a happy hour or a sushi workshop we would invest in happy employees by adding value not directly related to their career — not a coding class but tools to handle life in general so they will feel calmer when they are at work.”

Fundbox (which uses big data analytics, engineering and predictive modeling to help optimize cash flow for small businesses and freelancers) hired “Giveret Pilpelet,” a popular Israeli parenting expert, to teach the course one evening per week. The company charged a small registration fee to ensure commitment but covers the rest of the ₪2,000 fee per couple.

Fundbox’s Tel Aviv office has 84 employees (another 65 work in San Francisco). A dozen of them signed up for the initial 10-session course – three mothers and nine fathers.

“Many of them come with their partners, depending on whether they can get a babysitter,” says Medvedev.

In the first sessions, the parenting coach gave advice on issues such as how to communicate effectively with children of various ages, how to handle tantrums and how to organize for a calmer household, providing specific examples from real families.

The course will be offered again if there is interest, says Medvedev.

She can be counted among those looking forward to another round of classes – once she returns from maternity leave after giving birth to her second child.