Supporting Your Sandwich Generation Employees Is Smart Business

Supporting Your Sandwich Generation Employees Is Smart Business

Statistically speaking, nearly one-quarter of your employees who care for a child, parent or friend are actually Sandwich Generation caregivers, meaning they’re caring for children and aging loved ones simultaneously. Their numbers are expected to grow substantially as the population ages and seniors live longer.

This surge in Sandwich Generation employees could cost you dearly in several crucial ways. The good news is … It doesn’t have to.

The Heavy Toll of Caregiving
The organizational and personal costs of caregiving are substantial and well documented. (Many are outlined here.)

As for sandwiched caregivers in particular, a whopping 83% of them report they’re struggling to balance caregiving, work and other responsibilities. These employees are far more likely to miss work and be less productive due to the constant pressures of caregiving. They also tend to be more stressed and spend less time caring for themselves, which results in their own costly health issues. Additionally, a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business School revealed that 32% of U.S. employees voluntarily left a job due to caregiving responsibilities.

Rather than waiting for those statistics to worsen, savvy employers are implementing a variety of programs to support their caregiving employees.

3 Foundational Pillars of Support

3 Foundational Pillars of Sandwich Generation Support
Two of the most written-about benefits that support family caregivers are flexible work arrangements and paid time off. However, these solutions require significant up-front analysis and a substantial investment. Whether or not you choose to implement them, your strategy for supporting caregivers should rest upon these three indispensable pillars:

  1. Support for Working Parents —Nearly half of all working parents miss an average of four days of work at least once every six months. You can reduce this absenteeism (and other negative impacts such as diminished performance and productivity levels). Implement a comprehensive support program to help parents navigate and source solutions ranging from infancy through transitioning to college. It will give employees 24/7 telephonic and online access to bachelor- and master-level child care specialists, confirmed referrals to trustworthy providers, and a wealth of interactive educational content, webinars and other tools.
  2. Support for Employees Providing Care to a Senior — Employees who serve as caregiver for elder parents or family members often are faced with complex, confusing and time consuming challenges. A high-quality senior care management program provides a spectrum of invaluable services including in-person assessments; detailed care recommendations; 24/7 telephonic and online access to experienced senior care specialists; and a host of educational resources to help your employees become better family caregivers.
  3. Solutions for Employees When Care Plans Are Disrupted —A great backup care program benefits your employees by giving them access to reliable care alternatives when their regular arrangements break down; it also helps your company slash absenteeism/presenteeism, productivity losses, stress and the poor health issues that frequently afflict family caregivers. A state-of-the-art backup care program offers some very specific advantages: it’s available to your employees around the clock; it gives employees access to live, highly trained care representatives, not just an online database of caregivers; it’s flexible, allowing employees to use (and pay) privately secured care including trusted family members and friends as backup caregivers; and it provides invaluable educational resources regarding the care of children, older loved ones, pets, and employees themselves.

Helping employees better manage their competing caregiving and work-related priorities is more than the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.

If you’d like to learn more about caregiving-related benefits to support your sandwich generation employees or other programs designed to help your employees better integrate their work and personal responsibilities, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.

5 Reasons Your Company Needs Backup Care Now

Backup Care

Employees love having access to a high-quality, flexible backup care program and it’s easy to understand why.

First, it eliminates the stress of scrambling to find alternate child care or senior care when regular caregiving arrangements break down. With a backup care program in place, reliable care alternatives are just a phone call, email or text message away.

Second, trusted family members and friends qualify as backup caregivers and can be reimbursed for their valuable time.

Third, employees get 24/7/365 access to live care representatives, not just an online database of caregivers. These live representatives carefully assess each employee’s unique needs and help secure the most suitable care any time of the day or night.

From your employees’ perspective, what’s not to love? But backup care doesn’t only benefit your people. It’s every bit as helpful to your organization. Here are five key ways that a flexible backup care improves your company and its bottom line:

1. You’ll slash absenteeism and productivity losses. Nearly half of all working parents miss an average of four days of work at least once every six months because of child care breakdowns, which costs U.S. businesses about $4.4 billion a year in lost productivity, according to the recent Slate article, “The Corporate Case for Child Care.” And the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey reported that full-time workers who care for aging loved ones miss more than 126 million workdays per year, costing their employers $25.2 billion annually in lost productivity. Implementing a backup care program enables you to curb caregiving-related absenteeism and associated productivity losses.

Employee Loyalty & Morale

2. You’ll reduce presenteeism, stress and health problems. As noted in a 2017 report by AARP and the Northeast Business Group on Health, employees who balance caregiving and work responsibilities often fall prey to presenteeism (spending time during business hours dealing with caregiving challenges and emergencies). In addition, caregiving related stress and anxiety take a personal and professional toll on employees. “Caregiving employees often end up feeling isolated and/or depressed, and are less likely to have the time and energy to tend to their own health needs. This can, in turn, lead to illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, causing further problems for the caregiver as well as higher healthcare costs for employers.” Again, a backup care program can substantially mitigate these negative impacts by giving employees easy access to reliable care arrangements along with resources designed specifically for working parents and people caring for seniors.

3. You’ll improve employee loyalty and morale. Providing employees with work-life support programs—such as reliable backup care—has long been regarded as an effective strategy for earning their loyalty, maintaining morale and keeping them from jumping ship. A recent Forbes article underscored this correlation, reporting that one out of four workers who felt they had no support for adequate work-life balance made plans to quit in the following two years. In fact, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 2 million working parents quit their jobs in 2016 because of child care problems alone. The Forbes piece also noted that employees who feel they have a positive work-life balance are more dedicated by 21 percent than those who don’t think so. To reap the benefits of improved employee morale and loyalty, the article stated, an “employer only has to offer beneficial work-life services and policies that employees can choose to participate in.” One crucial way to do this is by helping your employees better balance their caregiving and work responsibilities.

4. You’ll attract and retain talent better. With U.S. unemployment rates at historically low levels, the competition to attract and retain talent is fiercer than ever. In this highly competitive environment, supportive workplaces (those that help employees effectively integrate their work and family lives) are a powerful draw for working parents and individuals caring for seniors. They seek employers who offer supportive benefits such as backup care. Even millennials want benefits that improve their lives and the lives of their family members, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce Survey. The survey also found that millennials are much more willing than other generations to change jobs to get these supportive benefits.

Working Parents

5. You’ll be addressing a growing demand. As data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show, among married-couple families with children, 61% have both parents employed. And AARP reports that one in six employees is a caregiver for an older loved one or friend. It’s no wonder that utilization of LifeCare’s Backup Care Connection program increased more than 40% last year. As the population ages and more working families require dual incomes, the need for backup child and senior caregivers is only going to grow.

Clearly, backup care is as good for your organization as it is your employees. Even employees without caregiving responsibilities will love backup care because it prevents colleagues from foisting work on them when caregiving arrangements go awry.

Now that’s a true win-win.

If you’d like to learn more about implementing a backup care program, contact us here or call us at (833) 282-3366.