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How to Support Employees Who Are Also Carers

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Blog, Resources

It’s Carer’s Week and so a good time to raise awareness for the millions among us who are carers and employees.

Supporting employees who juggle their work responsibilities with caring for children or adults is essential for maintaining their wellbeing and productivity. Here are seven effective strategies to help support such employees:

 

  • Offer Practical, Accessible Support Tools

Recognising your caregivers by offering any form of additional support is highly beneficial. It’s crucial to provide practical and easily accessible support tools. Caregivers often have limited time due to their responsibilities, so ensure that your support measures are straightforward and easy for them to utilise.

Focus on organisational models that are simple, robust, and do not require major lifestyle changes.

 

  • Establish a Carers Network / ERG

Creating a carers network or Employee Resource Group (ERG) can be a significant first step. This allows carers to have a voice within the company, support each other, and implement solutions that benefit all employees. Such networks can connect carers who understand and empathise with each other’s daily challenges. Setting up such a network can be a cost-effective solution, especially for companies with limited budgets.

However, it’s crucial that ERGs receive strong external sponsorship from senior leaders to ensure they get the necessary support within the business. The responsibility of changing perceptions should not rest solely on the ERG.

 

  • Initiate Conversations Around Caring

Research indicates that elderly care is often considered a ‘taboo’ subject. Many people have not discussed future care plans with their parents or family members. Employers can help destigmatize and encourage open discussions about caregiving, much like they have done with topics such as menopause and fertility.

 

  • Provide Care-Related Benefits

Employees greatly value benefits that help them manage the stressful aspects of caring for dependents. Examples include emergency backup care, a resource platform, and an ‘expert consultation’ service. These benefits can significantly reduce the stress of finding care solutions on short notice.

 

  • Raise Awareness About Caring

Many employees might not realise they are considered carers. It’s important to educate them about the terminology and definition of a carer. Design surveys to identify carers without explicitly using the word ‘carer,’ as many may not associate themselves with that term.

 

  • Offer Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexibility is one of the most impactful ways to support carers. When employers show a willingness to accommodate caregiving responsibilities, employees won’t feel forced to choose between their job and their caregiving duties. This approach can help retain valuable employees.

 

  • Reframe the Caring Experience

Caring responsibilities can develop valuable skills, such as empathy, which are beneficial in the workplace. Companies should focus on nurturing these skills within a work environment and using them for career development. By highlighting the unique abilities developed through caregiving, companies can shift the perception from merely ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’ in a career while being a carer.

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