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Strategies for Supporting Caregivers in the Workplace

It is well known that employees who are caregivers are experiencing high levels of burnout from balancing work and caregiving demands made more difficult by COVID-19.

As we head into the third year of the pandemic, employers continue to strategize ways to enhance family support not only to combat employee burnout, but also as a strategy to compete for talent amidst the Great Resignation. In a recent study by Care.com, 45% of employees seek “family friendliness” as a key attribute of their ideal organizational culture, yet only 33% describe their work culture as “family-friendly”.

Four trends we see emerging surrounding creating a “family-friendly” culture include wholistic caregiving, family forming support, paid family leave, and childcare support.

Wholistic Caregiving

Supporting families means expanding to include caregivers at all points in a caregiving journey whether an employee is just thinking about starting a family, managing a current family, or caregiving for an aging parent or disabled adult spouse. A staggering 55% of employees have left, adjusted their work, or want to due to the stress of balancing work and caregiving. Even more, almost all caregivers have difficulty performing tasks outside of work ultimately costing companies up to $38 billion in lost productivity, absenteeism, and retention. Caregiving has also significantly impacted mental health with 92% of caregivers feeling stressed with 50% experiencing depression.

Family Forming Support

Companies continue to expand on family forming support benefits with 60% saying these benefits have helped them attract top talent in the last three years. Infertility affects 1 in 8 people, more than asthma, diabetes, and depression, and 88% of employees are willing to change jobs for fertility benefits making this a highly valued program. The costs of forming a family range widely, reaching up to six-figures for surrogacy, making the family planning journey financially stressful and not feasible for many without employer-sponsored support. As companies enhance their benefits in this space, many are choosing to carve-out family forming benefits to a third-party point solution either through a flat-dollar reimbursement strategy or cycle-based benefit such as covering a 1-2 cycles of IVF or egg freezing.

Paid Family Leave

Employers are expanding paid parental leave to provide parity to both birthing and non-birthing parents with 68% of OneDigital leave of absence clients now offering the same benefit to all parents. Additionally, employers continue to increase the number of weeks paid leave. Today, 77% of OneDigital clients offer some form of paid leave. The recent “#ShowUsYourLeave” social media movement is bringing to light additional support programs for new parents such as leave for miscarriages or pet bereavement, solutions to provide new parents with advice and coaching, part-time ramp-up periods for new parents, and flexible work schedules.

Childcare Support

People leaders predict benefits signaling an empathetic, family-friendly, flexible culture are most likely to retain employees. Top impact categories include subsidized childcare, flexible work hours, remote work, care concierge and elder care. Although 54% of People leaders believe their companies should provide “family friendly benefits, like childcare or senior care,” only 20% do. Additionally, 46% of working parents hope their employer will provide some form of child care or emergency child care meaning expanding benefit offerings in this space could have profound impact.

Here are some of the key ways companies are starting to focus their strategy around supporting caregivers:

  • Create an Intentional culture: Encourage flexibility, make space for dialogue, and roll-out family-first policies. Launch manager training to ensure managers understand how to support caregivers. Ensure that messaging around policies and initiatives is top-down and communicated by key stakeholders.
  • Establish an Employee Resource Group (ERG): Identify a caregiving leader, and then build a structure to help facilitate ongoing conversation.
  • Offer Financial resources: Subsidize back-up care, offer free legal and financial counseling, provide paid family leave and subsidized family forming benefits.
  • Provide supportive programs: Enhanced mental health services, care concierge, coordination and management.

Article provided by OneDigital

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