As a best in class company you are very likely offering a variety of forms of wellness and employee engagement programs and strategies. Currently, corporate wellness programs are at least a $8 billion industry. This is only growing due to pressure from the people who matter - employees. Both Gen Xers and Millennials care immensely about progressive benefits which support physical and emotional wellness, fiscal health, family support and flexible situations. In fact, Millennials (34%) account for a greater number of employees who are caring for children or than their Gen X counterparts (22%). When did that happen, asks this Gen Xer?!?!
The wellbeing and stress mitigation benefits space has expanded greatly due to the increasing demands on employees related to caring for family members, as well as the rising amount of time that these activities distract them from work and resulting days missed. Related wellbeing initiatives simply make business sense to ease the life of a company’s most important asset - their people. Julie Stich, CEBS, Associate Vice President of Content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, says that “Embracing the broad definition of wellness has led to a tremendous impact on organizational health and worker productivity and happiness.” In July 2017 84% of employers surveyed by Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) and AARP strong agree or agree that specifically caregiving will become an increasingly important issue to their organization over the next five years. "Savvy employers and human resource directors are implementing smart policies and benefits to support family caregivers in their workforces—offerings that also help attract and retain strong employees," said Jeremy Nobel, Medical Director at NEBGH.
COMPLETE CORPORATE CAREGIVING BENEFITS STRATEGY
How? How Now in my Budget?
But what does this mean for you out of the gate? What if you can’t offer a complete caregiving benefits strategy today? While wellness, wellbeing, caregiving and stress mitigation are all hot terms in the benefits space, we wanted to shout out just a few ways to help your employees now, while you assess your 2018 HR goals:
Create a Culture of Awareness:
Do you consider yourself a caregiver? Likely if you have children, a spouse or close family members, you do fall into this category. Over half of employees don’t report caregiving challenges due to fear of their manager’s reaction or due to not identifying themselves as a caregiver. Research this topic, talk to experts and create a training guide for managers to truly understand this demand which is impacting 1 in 6 employees. If managers are open about the demands of caregiving, then their employees likely will be more transparents about their challenges too.
Offer Simple Content Resource:
The employee caring for a loved one with challenges or in crisis needs information regarding options, resources and even tips regarding their own self care. There are a wide range of public and credible resources available from AARP, Eldercare Locator, National Alliance for Caregiving, Happy Healthy Caregiver, Caring.com, etc… The options and list can be overwhelming for people, but offering a 1-2 page initial list of options is a wonderful and easy start for HR staff in helping employees.
Review Overall Flexible and Leave Options:
Are all your HR staff fully versed in the various leave options for employees: flexible schedules, sick/personal days, FMLA and FDR guidance, etc? Ensure your team truly understands the legal and policy nuances for your company and your employees. Offer additional training and sensitivity training for your team and create easy cheat sheets and flow charts for them to better partner with employees on real solutions. It's important that employees understand these, as well.
Offer In-House Stress Reduction Programs:
Simple options like yoga, medication and massage onsite can greatly assist caregivers’ stress and show support. Many outside vendors will gladly work with you to create cost effective programs. You’ll be amazed at how much this simple act can help.
For other suggestions related to employee resource groups, financial and tools, Workforce Magazine offers some simple tips as well in this article. Unsure of where to start? Contact Us and we can set on you on path right for your company and goals!