Not only does caregiving for an adult loved one put a personal strain on the individual providing the care, but it can also impact that caregiver’s productivity at work – and even whether they stay in a job. In turn, this can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.
Even so, most companies aren’t doing much to ease – or even acknowledge – their caregiving employees’ strain. Just as companies compromise and bend for their employees with children, providing support to caregivers of adult loved ones can go a long way toward increasing productivity and morale and decreasing employee illness and resignations. Here are some ways that smart companies can rally around their employees who are caregivers:
According to an article in the HuffPost, one in six employed Americans is providing care for a senior or disable loved one, but a third of those caregivers say their boss has no clue. The first step to helping them is to know who they are. Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable telling you about the demands on their time but also directly ask your staff about their outside responsibilities, assuring them that you’re there to help.
Make employees aware of resources available to them, such as employee benefit assistance programs, senior care referral services, and educational seminars or informal support groups hosted by your company. A great resource for employees and employers alike is Respect a Caregiver’s Time (ReACT), which is a coalition dedicated to helping employee caregivers face their challenges, and in so doing, minimize the impact to their employers.
Offer telecommuting, flexible, or even part-time schedules to accommodate employees’ caregiving responsibilities. If an employee needs to be available to their loved one full-time, consider temporary leaves of absence so that you don’t have to permanently lose that valued employee. Some progressive companies, including Adobe, Deloitte, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and Coca-Cola, are also providing paid family leave to caregivers.
Be Open to Feedback
Only the employees with this burden on their shoulders know what they need. Directly ask them how you can better support them. Once you have programs in place, request feedback on the effectiveness of these programs and be open to employees’ new ideas.
By showing that you understand your employees’ challenges and want to help, you’ll foster stronger, more loyal relationships with your employees. And in return, they’ll probably work even harder to help you reach your goals.