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It's National Caregivers Month - Make the Most of It With This Weekly Guide

POSTED BY
Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan on November 01, 2017 10:00 AM

Did you know that November is National Caregivers Month? It’s a great opportunity to connect with and support your employees, while also educating your entire workforce as to the issues surrounding caregiving.  Plus, an ideal time to remind everyone of the resources, benefits and policies your organization provides. 

Here are some week-by-week tips to ensure you’re making the most of it - the whole month through. 

Week One: Awareness
This week,  get the word out that your organization is recognizing - and celebrating - National Caregivers Month.  Invite all employees to coffee and bagels, or lunchtime drop-in refresher sessions that give an overview of the benefits, policies and resources that support caregivers at work.  Put up simple posters or flyers in common areas, or play a short, informative video on a loop in your lobby, café or elevator.  Content can be as simple as HR team members sharing how to use what’s available, or better yet, featured caregiver employees willing to talk about how they’ve put their benefits into action.  

For further inspiration, check out this year’s theme for National Caregivers Month from the Caregiver Action Network: “Caregiving Around the Clock,” plus the many resources the site offers for caregivers.  And don’t forget to point employees toward the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP’s caregiving resources.   

Week Two: Assessment
Now is a great time to survey current caregiver employees, as well as identify and educate potential future caregivers.  Whether you conduct a full work-life survey, or simply focus on gathering information regarding employees’ dependents (children and elderly), their care preferences and priorities, you’ll be gaining useful insight to better market available benefits programs.  Use survey data to also identify areas where you need to consider adding different benefits, or amending current policies surrounding paid leave, flex-work and PTO.   

Regularly benchmarking your caregiving benefits against direct competitors and/or your respective industry using supporting information from sites like Glassdoor, Comparably and Fairygodboss is helpful in ensuring your organization is keeping up – or better yet, staying ahead in the talent game.   AARP and ReACT Coalition also published a recent report of promising caregiving case studies, featuring 14 different companies and institutions. The report provides both compelling data to build the business case behind employer-sponsored caregiver support, as well as detailed information as to why, what and how these organizations are making it a priority.    

Week Three: Action
This week, focus on action in terms of boosting benefits utilization through better marketing.  Segment and target your identified caregivers first, and determine what communication methods will likely be the most effective.  Consult with your internal marketing team - even if it’s just asking them to give your materials a once-over for length, style and language (limit the HR speak).  For Millennials and Gen Xers who may be caring for both children and ill or aging loved ones, consider a multi-layered campaign this week and next using email, text and video delivered via social media platforms.  For Baby Boomers and Traditionals, likely caring for ill or aging partners and relatives, layer emails with hard copy resources delivered directly to their desks or mailed to their homes. This is also a great week to conduct a Town Hall-style forum on caregiver resources, or offer short webinars at different times of the day and week on how to utilize benefits. 

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Week Four: Appreciation
Take the last week of the month to let caregivers know how much they are appreciated and supported.  Schedule a drop-in chair massage event, a free luncheon workshop on how to take better care of yourself as a caregiver, or hand deliver support baskets to desks.  Remind employees of any wellness-related benefits or monthly allowances your company provides that could enable them to relax, recuperate and stay balanced.  And encourage managers and leadership at all levels to acknowledge and support caregivers this month through one-on-one conversations, team meetings, and company-wide gatherings.  

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Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan

As Director, Sales and Marketing at Care.com, Heidi is responsible for developing innovative, results-driven programs for [email protected] – a consumer-centered portfolio of family care for employers and their diverse workforce. Passionate about helping HR professionals improve the lives of their employees, Heidi follows and writes about the top trends and research impacting both employees and employers in the workplace, including the future of work, consumerism and HR, building employer brands, pay equity and paid leave policy, and company culture. Prior to joining Care.com, Heidi led marketing teams at a variety of technology companies including Constant Contact. She lives north of Boston with her husband Brian and their “daughter” Lexi – a 10 lb. Shih-Tzu therapy dog.