Never before has employer caregiver support been more mission critical to the well-being of families and business continuity for companies- this is one of the biggest impacts of Covid-19. Uncover more on how employer care-giving has to change to suit the changing concerns and challenges of the global workforce in this interview where Adam Goldberg, CEO and Founder at Torchlight shares his thoughts.
The seeds for Torchlight can be traced back to my teenage years, when I was responsible for caring for my aunt who had autism as well as a traumatic brain injury. In 1995, I went on to receive a business degree from the Wharton School. Over the next seven years, I worked in business development posts at Prodigy, Lucent, and EMC. In 2002, my early passion for caregiving led me to leave my career and join my mother, Leslie Goldberg, M.Ed., nationally acclaimed practitioner, in her consultancy, which focuses on helping families find appropriate programs and services for their children with special needs. Over the next 10 years, I worked as a consultant to more than one thousand families.
When I eventually realized that the consultancy just scratched the surface of the needs families have in grappling with how to best help their children, I set out to develop a technology platform to scale help for families through personalized and localized information and decision-support. In 2012, I launched the company under the name myEdGPS as a cloud-based platform that employers could offer their employees, free-of-charge, as part of their benefits plan. Now branded as Torchlight, the platform has been deployed at hundreds of companies (including Amgen, Boston Private Financial, Dell/EMC, and KeyBank) throughout the United States, extending coverage to millions of family members in need of caregiver support.
53 Million U.S. adults are caregivers. Seventy percent of caregivers report work-related difficulties due to their dual roles. Because employees who are also caregivers don’t leave their lives at the door when they come to work, both employees and employers need to fully embrace that caregiving requires commitment, time, and investment. The tech sector is no exception to this vicious cycle; in fact, it has remained more susceptible over the years with such a competitive talent market in which that cycle needs to be made more virtuous to attract and retain at higher rates. Many of our customers look to us, specifically, to assist with their most stressful employee family challenges like assessing home safety, evaluating long term care options, demystifying legal, financial, and health insurance matters associated with aging, as well as navigating special education services for children, demystifying diagnoses, and transitioning into adulthood, among many other areas of concern.
COVID-19 has completely upended work and has caused a seismic collision with home life, leaving both employers and employees to play roles they never imagined playing before. HR/Benefits leaders became “Corporate Caregivers” overnight, while parents became tutors, guidance counselors, and special needs advocates. Adult children became long-term care analysts, home safety specialists, and mental health counselors. All were untrained and thrown into the fray. Never before has caregiver support been more mission critical to the well-being of families and business continuity for their employers.
We have seen that over 84% of employees view their employer more favorably when they invest in families. Sending a clear message with action versus words, especially in the current climate, goes a long way in communicating authenticity to gain unmatched loyalty. This is why we believe that “caring is everyone’s business, and caring is good business.”
In particular, our tech clients have been largely successful in 1) creating a caring culture – from the very top – that permeates all levels; 2) providing highly flexible work arrangements; 3) investing in family benefits, recognizing that they hire families, not just employees: 4) ensuring effective communication of benefits and programming availability.
At a bare minimum, companies need to provide three cascading elements in establishing the foundation for enhanced corporate care: 1) widespread recognition that family, however defined, is an employee’s first full time job; and only when that is secure, will they be most effective in their second (formal) full time job; 2) creation of a safe climate within that job to encourage unencumbered work/life decision making; 3) logistical flexibility for working caregivers to optimize the execution of their two-job strategy.