How to Foster Inclusivity by Supporting Caregivers

Posted by Michele Bell on September 19, 2018

Supporting employees who are caring for children can create a culture of inclusivity.  Read on to find out why benefits that serve employees who have children are increasingly important.

Employees are the foundation of your business. Having a talented team that is focused and happy is vitally important to the success of your company. When your team is balancing work and home effectively, they have less stress and feel more in control. When the benefits you offer contribute to that sense of well-being, employees will feel loyal and more connected to the company which ultimately leads to greater productivity.

Since roughly one third of employees have children, it's critical that you consider how their responsibilities as caregivers affect their performance on the job.

Employees with children are likely to be some of the best employees you have - experienced and skilled at prioritizing, context switching, multitasking, and people management. On the flip side, they also have another critical full-time job that can take them away from work physically or mentally at times.

Even more importantly, these employees are unlikely to share their day to day challenges for fear of being stigmatized or being seen as a less than committed employee.  And don’t think it stops with just parents - you may have employees who are grandparents, aunts or uncles, or others who care about a child in their life.  

Benefits that directly address the concerns of caregivers and help them support kids, are a great way to promote an inclusive environment and attract and retain talented employees   Here are some ideas:

  • Think beyond parental leave and nursing rooms. Support for employees caring for children needs to extend beyond their child’s first birthday. Caring for toddlers and school age children means more questions and concerns around sleep, tantrums, socialization, potential developmental delays, and separation anxiety.
  • Encourage communication that creates an inclusive culture where it’s okay to talk about coordinating drop off and pick up times for their kids or a potty-training regression that’s impacting their mornings. When employees with kids feel they, and their kids, are supported they don’t feel so split between their caregiving and working roles.
  • Recognize that many employees struggling to manage their caregiving and work roles feel their only choice is to shortchange their family or leave the workforce.  Provide options that make it clear that these employees are valued by your company.
  • Provide educational opportunities including webinars and other materials that provide solutions to common caregiving challenges to help assess, track and support the development of their children.
  • Encourage a community within your workforce for employees with children to share concerns and receive support and suggestions from others.
  • Promote company events and celebrations that include families.
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