by Katherine Goldstein
Companies have serious blind spots about their caregiver population and regularly make assumptions that can undermine their stated values and goals — along with their bottom line. In this piece, the author debunks five big misconceptions about caregivers right now. For one, school and childcare are not “back to normal.” Employers must understand that employees who rely on private daycare and public school to do their jobs are facing near constant, unpredictable care conflicts through no personal fault of their own. The author goes on to explain the other four misconceptions, and offers advice for what organizations can do to support caregivers so they can stay on the job and thrive.
There is a large group of employees at nearly every company that have much to contribute to organizations, but may need thoughtful policies to thrive. Supporting this group is integral to DEI, loyalty, and retention goals, and yet few companies even track their status. The group I’m talking about is caregivers.
They are the fastest growing workplace identity group, and they make up around 73% of the workforce. “Caregiver” is a broad term on purpose — it includes parents, those caring for elderly family members, and those supporting a sick or disabled child, sibling, or spouse. Through my work as a journalist and consultant on caregiver issues in the workplace, I see again and again that companies have serious blindspots about their caregiver population and regularly make assumptions that can undermine their stated values and goals — along with their bottom line.
Here are five big misconceptions I’d like to debunk in order for companies to better understand the realities of their employee caregivers so that they can make smart policies to support them.