In a recent report from the Harvard Business School (The Caring Company) less than 25% of employers say that being a caregiver impacts the performance of employees. Wow, that’s simply obtuse when over 80% of employees surveyed said that caregiving had impacted their performance. 20% of those interviewed stated that being a caregiver hurt their careers. My own experiences with caregivers certainly bear witness to this. They simply hide their caregiving duties until the stress and exhaustion force them to quit.

What do employers know?
We can’t blame employers for not knowing what we don’t disclose. Employees may fear retribution, discrimination, loss of advancement opportunities, missed raises and bonuses.But if employers are truly in touch with their team, they can see the signs. According to the report “Employers identified unplanned absences and missed days of work (33%), late arrival at work (28%), and early departure from work (17%) as the top three behaviors that always undermine career progression. Those are all behaviors that frequently arise due to an employee’s need to respond to a caregiving obligation.“

Who are the Carers?
While some may assume that caregivers who quit are in “less important” roles in the company, that’s not actually true. You may be surprised to learn that the percentage who left a position rose higher at each rung on the corporate ladder.

  • Employee 23%
  • Manager of employees 44%
  • Manager of managers 53%
  • Senior leaders 61%

The cost of not caring for caregivers
Senior leaders are most likely to leave to care for a family member. Let that sink in for a moment. The cost of finding, hiring and retaining skilled teams is rising.
reported that on average it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to replace him or her. On top of that it affects productivity, engagement, company culture and overhead.

Taking a conscious business approach
With the changing population and the rise in nontraditional families, caregivers have fewer resources to turn to. We are going to have to face the fact that caregiving is a much larger part of the workforce than we realized. Helping employees manage their roles as employees, caregivers, family members and members of the community is becoming more important to a modern workforce.

Companies in the conscious business movement are recognizing that when people thrive in an organization the company is more successful and that trickles down into every aspect of a community.

Today’s corporate environment is moving toward enhanced employee benefits plans, and that’s great, but it’s time to take a closer look at who those plans serve. Employers are looking to provide wellness plans, but corners get cut and programs that look good on paper may not serve the needs of the employees. A recent report on corporate wellness programs on by Jeremiah Owyang points out that digital wellness programs may be a good start, but it’s crucial that we involve that human to human factor in wellness programs if we truly want to see them become part of the corporate culture.