Caregiver Friendly Employer Practices That Make Good Business Sense

Whether it's having a back-up plan or empowering your employees, here is a detailed guide on how to make your caregiver employee at ease in the workplace.

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- Posted on Jul 17, 2017

A manager shakes hands with one of his employees around a conference table.

Content provided by Home Instead Senior Care.

The “Daughters in the Workplace” public education program was created by Home Instead Senior Care® to bring attention to the special challenges faced by working family caregivers of older adults and to provide free resources to those caregivers and their employers.

The message to working family caregivers is ‘you are not alone.’  Each day, all across North America, Home Instead franchise owners and their CAREGiversSM see the strain that family caregiving is placing on individuals who are trying to do their best to work and care for aging loved ones.

It’s a balancing act that often leaves employers and employees frustrated. Our hope is to encourage both to look for ways to make family caregiving a win-win in the workplace.

In a spring 2017 survey of North American working family caregivers, conducted by Home Instead®, Inc., the percentage of working family caregivers who reported being “very satisfied” with their company’s work-family policies never reached 50 percent.

Caregivers gave the following top ratings to their employer’s family leave policy (38 percent), work/life balance (32 percent) and/or flexible schedule (44 percent). Additionally, 38 percent say they need more understanding, while 36 percent say they need new workplace policies. (26 percent say they need both.)

Home Instead Senior Care has developed the following Caregiver Friendly Business Practices to help guide employers through this process:

1. Empower Employees to Ask for What They Need

  • Guilt often prevents employees from asking in the first place. And you lose good employees when they just quit because they think there is no other option.

2. Have A Policy … to be Flexible (and human) When Needed

  • We’ve seen companies fall back on “but our policy states... ” Ensure managers are trained to understand when the policy just can’t apply, and to think creatively for solutions that work for the employer and the employee.

3. Have A Back-Up Plan

  • Employees can’t always give a head’s up. You need to have back-up assistance at-the-ready.
  • For large companies, you already make this happen with maternity leave. Apply the same principals to backfill as needed.
  • For small companies, develop a buddy business and cross-train your employees on the basics so you can help each other out and fill in when there are employee emergencies.

4. Offer Support

  • For large businesses, this may be an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can help find home care, assisted living or hospice resources.
  • For small businesses, this may be a list of local providers or a link to websites with help resources.
  • For all businesses, this can simply be listening and/or connecting employees who may have experience with this personal situation. 

5. Respect Caregiving Needs

  • Give caregiving for parents the same weight as caring for children.
  • Include caregiving for parents in any language outlining family leave policies.
  • Offer the same flexibility you give to parents of small children.

Resources on the Daughters in the Workplace website, with input and expertise from the Society for Human Resource Management (SRHM), Families and Work Institute and ReACT (Respect a Caregiver’s Time), are designed to help enhance conversations between employees and employers for the benefit of families everywhere.

Learn more at www.DaughtersintheWorkplace.com (DaughtersintheWorkplace.ca in Canada).

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