3 Ways to Create an Inclusive Environment for Caregivers at Work
Many employers (about 52%) don’t collect data from their workforce about caregiving responsibilities. Some employers report having concerns about privacy or feel that the data wouldn’t be actionable. And, on top of that, many caregivers are reluctant to identify themselves as a caregiver at work because they fear that they will be perceived as less committed to their jobs.
With the right data points and intentional actions, leaders have an opportunity to foster an inclusive and supportive workplace for the caregivers on their teams. After all, 1 in 5 Americans are providing unpaid care to a family member or loved one.
Lead by example
If you are personally caring for a family member or loved one, don’t be afraid to share your own personal experiences with members of your team. By identifying yourself as a working caregiver, you are giving your employees permission to do the same and feel safe doing so.
Additionally, as you take time off or adjust your schedule to accommodate family needs, consider sharing what you are doing with your employees. Many caregivers are afraid to share information about their caregiving responsibilities with their work because there is fear they will be seen as less committed to their job compared to peers who are not caregivers. Showing other caregivers that you can be a leader and a caregiver, you are demonstrating that caregivers don’t have to sacrifice professional goals and success in order to care for their loved ones.
Understand and acknowledge the way caregivers see themselves
We are all a daughter, son, mother, father, friend or family member to someone. Typically, people will identify themselves as one of those roles before they will identify themselves as a caregiver. Recognize that your employees are each managing unique circumstances at home and the term ‘caregiver’ may not resonate with them.
Leaders can use language like ‘flexible family leave’ or ‘family support program.’ To avoid alienating someone who may not see themselves as a caregiver. The key to supporting working caregivers is understanding that they want and need to feel that their employer is supportive of the juggling act they play when balancing work and family responsibilities.
Regularly reinforce the value and availability of flexible leave programs and employee benefits
Caregiver support programs and flexible leave programs are becoming more of a priority for employers. As employees start to see these benefits as table stakes in a benefits package, it’s important for leaders to remind their team that there are benefits available to support them.
Leaders can take a minute or two from a team meeting, and remind their employees of the benefit options they have when caring for a family member or loved one. Whether it is letting them know about programs like Memento that work to support their own personal needs, or leave programs that give them the time to provide care to their loved one, employees need to know that they are supported and encouraged to use the benefits available to them.
Memento is available to employers and health plans as a part of a benefits solution. For more information about Memento, send us a message.