In today’s challenging business world, CEOs are open to exploring uncharted territory when it comes to sustainability and growth. As executives grapple to keep pace with economic and geopolitical fluctuation, innovative strategies are more welcome than ever, especially when it comes to a central objective: attracting and retaining top talent.
This is no small task given the formidable level of competition for talent. In fact, 77 percent of CEOs surveyed expressed concern that skills shortages could hinder their organization’s growth, and 52 percent plan to hire more employees over the next year.
Aligning Corporate and Employee Caregiver Values
One of the best ways to hire and retain talent that meshes with a company’s values is to clearly define those values. One issue that touches everyone – and is now rising to the top of every CEO’s concern – is the rise in working caregivers. Employees who are caring for a sick loved one at home face a unique set of challenges: 48 percent of caregivers are unable to work and 94 percent of caregivers report a deterioration of their financial health.
Working caregivers who suddenly face these burdens are often overwhelmed, taking a toll on the individual’s absentee record and on-the-job productivity. This is where chief executives can play an integral role, giving top-down direction to introduce programs and strategies that support working caregivers with meaningful benefits options. These initiatives are proving to have a positive impact upon the lives of the employee as well as the company’s financial performance, while enhancing loyalty and morale overall.
Companies that offer flextime and telecommuting programs for caregiver employees saw an ROI of between $1.70 and $4.45 for every dollar invested. Also, a work-family human resources policy is associated with a share price increase of 0.32 percent on the day that the policy is announced.
On the flip side, U.S. companies that fail to address caregiver issues pay the price: businesses lose between $17.1 billion and $33.6 billion annually on lost productivity, depending on the level of caregiving involved — $2,110 for every full-time worker who cares for an adult – and face higher health insurance costs. This does not include the number of promotions or assignments employees turn down that require travel or relocation away from their caregiving responsibilities.
Approximately 14 percent of employee caregivers reduce their work hours or receive a demotion, while five percent give up working entirely. Studies also reveal that this trend can be costly for business. Employee caregiving costs employers:
- Up to $33 billion annually from lost productivity
- $6.6 billion to replace employees who retire early or quit
- $5.1 billion in absenteeism
How Businesses Are Stepping Up
A growing number of employers are developing ways to ease caregiver burdens with a range of programs:
- Flexible schedules
- Medical second opinion for parents, in-laws, grandparents and grandparents-in-law; guidance
- Counseling and referrals specific to caregiving
- Using a dependent care flexible spending account for out-of-pocket eldercare expenses with tax-free dollars
- Creating a community of peer-to-peer support and care recommendations
- Seminars on eldercare issues are just some of the ways employers are supporting employee caregivers
Companies are also introducing caregiver platforms that offer navigation, resources, support, telehealth options, referrals and other tools to help working caregivers plan for and manage these transitions in life.
These proven strategies can help companies lend significant support to employee caregivers:
Paid Time Off — Giving employee caregivers time and space to be with their loved one can help them establish a game plan of care.
Enhanced Bereavement Leave – Giving employees time to grieve after the death of a loved one and attend to matters of the estate
Provide Resources — Most first-time caregivers spend hours searching the internet for what to do next with little luck or clarity.
Access to Mental Health Care – Make sure that employee caregivers are taking care of themselves while they are taking care of others and have access to mental health resources.
Company Culture — Companies can leverage their resources to develop solutions that are responsive to the needs of employee caregivers, such as telecommuting and flexible schedules.
By tapping into innovative platforms and programs designed to make the lives of caregivers easier, CEOs can play an essential role in shaping corporate policies that help those who need help — from newborns to seriously ill seniors. It is possible to introduce programs in a way that is both cost-effective and socially impactful.
Most recently, Renee Albert partnered with Michael Walsh, CEO of Cariloop, and Mark Victor Hand, author of Chicken Soup for your Soul Series, to publish a white-paper titled “Why Corporate America should support employees who give their hearts and souls to those in need.”