How Employers Can Support Caregivers in the Workplace
Many of the most valuable employees in your business are also caregivers at home. They’re balancing work with raising their children, looking after their elderly or disabled family members, or both. These caregiving responsibilities can be a heavy burden for employees – and the majority of them fall on women.
Employers who support caregivers help workers thrive at home and increase satisfaction and productivity at work as well – when the right support programs are in place. Here’s what you need to know about the most effective ways to help your caregiving employees.
Why Employers Supporting Caregivers Matters
38% of workers are also caregivers, according to the May 2021 Prudential Pulse of the American Worker Survey. That survey also found the retention risk for those caregivers is much higher than other employees: 45% of caregivers have considered leaving the workplace, compared with just 19% of non-caregivers.
Employers urgently need to develop a strategy to support caregivers, or they will lose talent. Since caregivers also tend to be higher-level employees, and those more senior employees are more likely to leave, employers who support caregivers can prevent a significant loss of talent and knowledge.
And what do caregivers value most from their employers? Here are the top three ways employers can support caregivers.
1. Increase Work Flexibility
When trying to balance the needs of raising children, caring for elderly parents – or both, as is increasingly common in the “sandwich generation” – employees benefit from increased flexibility. This flexibility can come in many forms: flexible start or end times for the workday, a fully remote or hybrid working schedule, or other arrangements like compressed workweeks or even part-time options.
Employers supporting caregivers by giving them more flexibility in their work see significant retention benefits. For example, women with child-care responsibilities were 32% less likely to intend to leave their jobs when they had remote options.
And those benefits extend to the entire workforce as well – employees in general are 30% less likely to look for another job in the next year when they can access remote work options. Remote work can help your organization build a diverse workforce, in part by keeping more women in senior roles from leaving the workplace due to their caregiving responsibilities.
2. Know the Numbers
Most employers don’t track care demographics – such as the number of employees who are caregivers, the changes in demand for care solutions, and what their caregiving responsibilities tend to be at different points in their careers. For instance, do you know how many of your employees are working from home with kids right now?
Gathering and using data on these key aspects helps you pinpoint the solutions that will help your employees care for their families while succeeding in their careers. Conducting a care census allows your organization to develop a deep understanding of caregiver needs and tailor benefits and policies accordingly.
3. Lead by Example
Telling employees that you recognize their need to balance productivity at work with caregiving at home is good, of course. But unless employees see managers and higher-ups leading by example, employees often hesitate to take full advantage of the benefits offered to support them.
Often, employees don’t know about the benefits already offered by their employer when it comes to supporting caregivers. 88 percent of employers provide some type of caregiving resources, but 71 percent of workers aren’t aware of these offerings, and only 34 percent have taken advantage of them.
Ensuring that employees are fully aware of the benefits available to them, as well as encouraging leaders to “walk the talk” by using those benefits openly, is essential. Building cultures where employers are supporting caregivers openly requires sustained and consistent action from the whole organization.