As caring responsibilities evolve, it’s important to understand your employee’s needs and how you can support them. There are over 11.5 million working parents in Great Britain and an estimated 7 million working carers across the UK.
75% of employed carers worry about continuing to juggle work and care. As an employer, there are various different ways you can support your employees who have caring responsibilities.
What support can you offer parents and carers?
Flexible working options
Flexible working can be provided in a range of different ways, such as allowing your employees to work condensed hours or the opportunity to work from home. For businesses that can’t be fully flexible with working hours, there are still other ways to provide flexibility. For example, allowing your people time off to attend necessary appointments rather than having to use annual leave.
Offer helpful benefits
There are employee benefits available that offer helpful support to working parents and carers. For example, our Employee Assistance Programme includes access to a 24/7 Advice and Information Line as well as 24/7 online GP appointments for employees and their dependent children. One of the optional extras is Eldercare, a service that provides advice on care homes and caring for the elderly.
Providing helpful resources and information for your employees with parental and caring responsibilities takes the burden of research off of their shoulders. This could either be free online resources, such as information on tax-free childcare, or a webinar or workshop with practical advice. It can also be helpful to create a support group within the company for parents and carers who want to join, giving them the opportunity to share advice and support each other.
Ensuring your employees get the support they need
Actively communicate the support on offer
It’s important for employers to effectively communicate the support they’ve got available for working parents and carers. Not only does this ensure your people understand the support that’s available to them, but also that your company wants them to use the resources that you’re providing. It ensures that employees are well-informed about the help they can get without having to start a conversation with their manager.
Here are some ways you can share the help available with your employees:
- Company-wide email: Send out an email to all employees, highlighting the various support programs, policies and resources available. You should include details on how to access them and who to contact for more information.
- Intranet or employee portal: If you have a company intranet or employee portal, create a dedicated section that has all the information related to support for working parents and carers.
- Posters and notice boards: Display posters or informational flyers in common areas for those who work on-site, highlighting the support programs and resources available.
- In-person or virtual meetings: Conduct in-person sessions, webinars or town hall meetings to discuss the support options available. This is also a good time to provide an opportunity for employees to engage in real-time Q&A sessions.
Create an open culture
People need to know that their employer is understanding of those with parent and carer responsibilities. Creating an environment where your employees feel comfortable discussing their caregiving responsibilities allows you to better understand and support your people. Normalising the conversation within the workplace helps reduce stigma and encourages employees to seek the support they need without any fear of judgement or rejection.
Here are some ways you can create an open culture at work:
- Encourage open communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their caregiving responsibilities and challenges.
- Lead by example: Managers and leaders should openly share their own experiences as working parents or carers, demonstrating empathy and understanding. This encourages others to feel comfortable doing the same.
- Provide training and resources: Offer training sessions and resources on topics like work-life integration, time management and stress reduction. These initiatives can help employees better navigate their responsibilities and feel supported in their roles.
Seek feedback from employees
It’s important to find out what your employees want rather than just assuming what they’d find the most helpful. By actively listening to employees’ voices, employers gain valuable insights into the specific challenges, needs and preferences of their workforce. This not only ensures that resources and policies align with employees’ expectations but also empowers them by actively involving them in the decision-making process.
Here’s how you can get feedback from your employees on the policies in place:
- Feedback and questionnaires: A quarterly pulse survey can help to understand how they’re feeling. Pulse surveys are one of the easiest ways to improve your wellbeing strategy and find out what support your people need the most. Download our sample questions.
- Focus groups or feedback sessions: Organise small group discussions or feedback sessions with working parents and carers. These can be done with a research partner to keep any feedback anonymous.
- One-on-one meetings or check-ins: Schedule individual meetings with employees who are working parents or carers to have personalised discussions. This should be done with participants who volunteer and are comfortable sharing their experiences.
Watch our webinar: How employees can support working parents and carers
Watch our webinar where our experts discuss the challenges faced by working parents and caregivers and the solutions and policies that organisations can put in place to create a supportive culture.