Attracting and Retaining Caregiving Employees

Most employees –  73% — provide care for family members and they are not hiding it anymore. They choose their employers based on a supportive culture, relevant benefits, and family-oriented policies. Do you know who your caregiving employees are? Do you know what they need to stay productive?

Employers can work with this new reality to attract and retain strong performers, leading to a stable workforce that provides superior results.

Work+Family Insight - Attracting & Retaining Caregiving Employees

Who is a Caregiving Employee?

Caregiving employees include parents of children, those who take care of adult family members who have disabilities, and those who care for aging family members.

73% of all employees report that they have some type of caregiving responsibility currently, according to The Caring Company.

Men make up 44% of the employees who provide care for an adult family member with disabilities or advanced age. Almost half of such caregivers are younger than 43. Only half of caregiving employees say that their supervisors are aware of their caregiving role.

Work+Family Insight - Attracting & Retaining Caregiving Employees

Employers Can Succeed with Caregiving Employees

The problem: Caregiving employees who are not supported at work report working fewer hours, being absent more, having more health issues of their own, experiencing more mental health issues, and being stressed financially. Caregivers who are younger, Black, or Hispanic are more likely to have to leave their jobs due to caregiving.

The conflict between caregiving and unsupportive work cultures is going to get worse. In just the last five years, the percentage of employees who care for family members and the amount of time they spend caring have both gone up. Seniors are living longer and needing more care, and the incidence of cancer and other disabilities is increasing. Although the need is increasing, there is a shortage of professional caregivers and their cost is often prohibitive.

The opportunity: When employers reduce this conflict, caregiving employees can remain employed and productive. Their stress is reduced, their mental and physical health improves, absenteeism decreases, and morale increases – not just for the caregiving employee but also for co-workers who witness how the employee is treated. Productivity goes up.

When caregiving employees are retained, the organization benefits from their experience, institutional knowledge, and relationships with customers. Costs of attrition, rehiring, and training are saved. Legal expenses and reputational harm are avoided.

Another opportunity for employers: access to a largely untapped pool of experienced but unemployed workers. As labor shortages continue, caregiving employees who left the workforce due to lack of support are an untapped reservoir of talent. Employers can entice them back to the workplace through caregiving supports, which will be all the easier if the organization develops a reputation for being a good place for caregivers to work.

How Employers Can Attract and Retain Caregiving Employees

An increasing number of employers are strengthening their benefits packages to ease the burdens of combining work and caregiving. The benefits include such things as family health insurance, childcare subsidies, eldercare referral resources, financial assistance for fertility treatments and adoption, and mental health care. It is good start, but it is not enough.

Employers are also adopting more policies to address caregiving needs. Some of the offerings: paid family leave, gradual return to work, pregnancy and lactation accommodation, flexible work, remote work, sick leave that can be used to care for family members, and summer camp placement. This is an even better start, but again, not enough.

What else is needed? A supportive, discrimination-free environment. Innovative benefits and policies will do nothing to attract and retain caregiving employees if supervisors are trying to fire them and the company culture is hostile to employees who have lives outside of work. Building a supportive culture requires rooting out unconscious bias about caregivers, identifying sources of work/family conflict, and creating a compassionate environment.

Work+Family Insight can help your organization uncover the experiences and needs of your caregiving employees. We can review your existing policies, assist with developing new ones, and advise you about effective implementation. We can brief management and HR about key issues affecting caregiving employees, and help you create a more supportive environment. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

Let’s talk about how you can work better with your caregiving employees.

Workforce 21C is now Work+Family Insight.