How to Make a Major Impact on DEI with Caregiver Support
Family First’s over 30 years of clinical experience enable us to provide solutions that offer inclusive and viable solutions for caregivers from different backgrounds, dealing with very different caregiving scenarios.
One of the biggest corporate diversity and inclusion issues facing us today involves people of all ages, genders, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, and ability. In Harvard Business Review, caregiving journalist and consultant Katherine Goldstein says that caregivers are the fastest-growing workplace identity group, and they make up around 73% of the workforce.
This includes parents, those caring for elderly family members, and those caring for a sick or disabled child, sibling, or partner. Supporting this group is integral to an organization's DEI, loyalty, and retention goals, and yet few companies are aware of its importance or have measures to track progress in the support they are offering caregiving employees.
While the large identity group of caregivers has a lot in common - they can suffer from stress, exhaustion, and struggle to balance work and family life with their caregiving responsibility - there are a lot of other diversity, background, and identity issues within this group that make providing universal support for caregivers even more complex.
For example, how employees from different backgrounds and cultures feel in the workplace can be very different. How comfortable they feel sharing their caregiving situation with managers or employers can be impacted by issues around equity and inclusivity in their workplace.
Only 56% of caregivers report that their work supervisor knows about their caregiving situation. Research published in Arzient’s Diversity, Equity And Inclusion 2022 report found that across industries, BIPOC and Hispanic employees are more likely to feel isolated and excluded at work. Non-white employees are two times more likely to have their input overlooked or feel uneasy raising objections in meetings.
Complicating the matter further is the way people from different cultures perceive and manage family caregiving. If you’re Caucasian and North American, there is a stronger chance that looking after elderly relatives centers around making sure your loved one has a nice nursing home and quality staff to take care of them. It’s not universal or the same for every family, but this kind of care has been promoted and perpetuated in Western culture. Within Asian American, African American, and Hispanic-American communities, the idea of providing care for elders is quite different. Aging in place is simply a part of life. Individuals growing up in these cultures reported witnessing caregiving growing up in the family home and so it was an expected part of life as their relatives got older.
With so much complexity, a highly individualized approach to caregiving support for your employees is necessary. Family First’s Expert Caregiving solutions combined with over 30 years of clinical experience across thousands of diverse care cases enable us to provide solutions that offer inclusive and viable solutions for caregivers from different backgrounds, dealing with very different caregiving scenarios.
Data backs the positive impact of DEI investment on employers and employees
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important values in the workplace. A recent research paper by Arizent, Diversity, Equity And Inclusion 2022, concluded that employers should make DEI a critical part of recruiting policy. The report finds that companies need to move beyond token efforts and have a genuine commitment to DEI to create a healthy workplace. Successful corporate cultures work on ingraining these values within the company DNA and businesses that excel in these areas attract and retain the best talent giving them a competitive edge.
A research paper from Deloitte, on the Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion, found that the Millennial generation comprises over 75 million people, and they will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. For many millennials, inclusion is a non-negotiable in today’s workplace. It is viewed as an essential component of business strategy and a factor in deciding whether to stay or leave an organization.
Employers also need to be aware that what diversity means is not the same for every generation. Millennials look past demographic characteristics and view diversity more along the lines of cognitive diversity and the variety of experiences and perspectives that each individual brings. Older generations tend to define diversity by traditional measures such as gender and race. Millennials see inclusion as vital to the way that companies do business.
Types of DEI issues and the stress on caregivers
Workplace family leave policies have become more inclusive with gender-neutral language, but they often only focus on a new child. A 2019 Harvard Business School report on caregiving found that while welcoming a child was a top caregiving reason people left their jobs, caring for a sick child (49%) and managing a child’s daily needs (43%) were also major issues. A third of people who left their position due to caregiving cited eldercare as the reason, and almost 25% cited an ill or disabled family member.
New data shows that women, people of color, and caregivers are more likely to want to choose forms of flexible and remote work. If companies are not actively training managers to support remote workers, their talent pool will drain women, people of color, and caregivers. Evaluating flexibility and hybrid policies through a caregiver lens is helpful, as providing access to backup care services helps relieve ongoing points of stress.
According to the research by Arizent, non-white employees are less likely than their white counterparts to report feeling valued and that they belong at their organization. Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) report that their professional input is requested significantly less than their white colleagues. These kinds of DEI issues are likely to add further to the stress of caregivers within these groups and make them less likely to seek support, and more likely to leave the organization.
How employers can help
All the data shows that caregivers are likely to make up one of the largest identity groups in your organization. Supporting caregivers is essential but it’s a complicated matter with highly individualized circumstances that need equally individualized support.
While many employees may not speak up about their caregiving situation, Family First has a predictive index that uses AI and data from millions of care cases. This helps us identify which employees need caregiving support and are most at risk of suffering caregiver burnout.
Our experienced clinical team is also able to define the kind of support any individual needs, factoring in all the complexity of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, cultural background, and age, plus the circumstances around their family members' caregiving. This lets us develop the personalized caregiving plan they need for their situation.