Unlocking Potential at Work: Why Caregiver Benefits are Critical for the Modern Employer

Mar 8, 2024

Coexist & ConSoul

In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives as the appeal and business case for them became undeniable. Even so, there's a key aspect that often gets overlooked: caregiver benefits.

It’s estimated that 75% of U.S. workers have caregiving responsibilities for a child, aging parent or ill or disabled relative. The vast majority indicate that family needs hurt their productivity at work, and the demand for caregivers is only expected to increase as the population ages.

Why Caregiving Benefits Matter

Hundreds of millions of working-aged women are forced out of the workforce due to caregiving responsibilities, resulting in a staggering $11 trillion loss in global GDP. This is not just a gender issue but an economic waste that demands our attention.

A Harvard Business School report published in January 2024, Healthy Outcomes Report, found that investing in caregiver benefits yields significant returns. Not only do employers see higher employee retention and performance, but also organizational bottom-line improvements. Here are five of their most salient findings:

  1. Companies that offer caregiving support decrease turnover by at least 5-6%.

  2. Given that replacing an employee costs conservatively 50% of their annual salary, retaining staff through concierge benefits yields a return on investment of at least 225%.

  3. 64% of employees with caregiving responsibilities say access to care benefits helped them miss fewer work days or meetings.

  4. 30% of employees say caregiver benefits helped them avoid taking a leave of absence or leaving their jobs altogether. Caregiving is the second most common reason employees leave their jobs, just after retirement, when they don’t have the right support at work.

  5. 80% of employees who currently have caregiving responsibilities acknowledge that caregiving affected their ability to perform their best at work.

How Can Employers Better Support Caregivers

If you are an employer or HR leader, you have a critical role to play in supporting caregiving employees. Different stages of an employee's career come with varying caregiving challenges and demand flexible solutions. 

Actionable recommendations for creating a workplace culture that truly unlocks the power of caregivers include:

  1. Offer Flexible Work and Remote Work Options: according to a report by AARP, 61% of caregivers already make adjustments to their work schedules to accommodate caregiving duties. Support caregivers by normalizing this flexibility.

  2. Implement Paid Leave Policies: allow caregivers to take time off to care for loved ones without sacrificing their income or job security. Research from the National Partnership for Women & Families shows that access to paid family leave reduces turnover and increases employee loyalty.

  3. Roll out Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): these programs are a wonderful way to equip caregivers with crucial resources such as counseling services, special needs care, and caregiver support groups.

  4. Offer Flexible Benefits Programs: this has been shown to help employees feel more positive about their benefits and have a higher understanding and usage of the benefit plan due to the control and creativity they can exert in choosing their benefit plan. This is an inclusive, cost-effective way of increasing employee recruitment and retention.

  5. Subsidize or Negotiate Employee Discounts for Child Care and Elder Care Services: this not only eases the financial burden on caregivers but also ensures access to quality care for their loved ones, so they can focus on work guilt-free.

  6. Education and Training about Caregiving: programs and workshops will educate employees about their caregiving benefits, time management techniques, and stress management strategies. Empowering caregivers with knowledge and skills can help them navigate responsibilities more effectively.

Offering caregiver benefits not only attracts top talent but also drives loyalty among existing employees. Even a very modest decrease in turnover rate and increase in employee productivity and engagement at work, justify the investment in caregiver support benefits like Consoul and Coexist. By acknowledging and accommodating the needs of caregivers, organizations demonstrate their commitment to DEIB and support for all employees, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Consoul connects Canadian caregivers to the resources and support they need to prevent burnout. Our mission is to help alleviate caregiver burnout. Learn more at www.consoulapp.com.

Coexist is an all-in-one platform that helps busy families coordinate life at home together. Trusted by families in 88 countries, backed by Techstars, and recommended by therapists. Learn more at www.getcoexist.com.