Ninety percent of employees have left work due to family responsibilities, and another 20 percent say they or their partner have cut back on hours due to family responsibilities.
Across the country, millions of men and women are struggling to balance work and family responsibilities. They’re leaving work early to pick up sick kids from school, or adjusting hours to bring an aging parent to doctor’s appointments. This is the reality of our modern families: In the majority of American families with children all parents work, and nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s are in the Sandwich Generation – meaning they have parents aged 65 and older and are also supporting children of their own.
Thirty-five percent of respondents to Care.com's Better Benefits survey said a lack of work-life benefits negatively impact their work performance. In a separate survey, of Care.com members, we learned 71 percent of parents have considered quitting their jobs and 69 percent have made career changes due to the high cost of child care. This is consistent with the roughly 70 percent of senior caregivers who are forced to make career adjustments due to family responsibilities.
For employers, the cost of care can be profound. Absenteeism, workplace disruptions and other care-related issues cost American businesses tens of billions annually. And then there are the high costs associated with turnover – which you can figure at up to 150 percent of an employee’s salary, plus incalculable losses in experience, skills and intellectual capital.
However, when employees have access to benefits designed to meet their family and household care needs, utilization of those benefits has been proven to enable those employees to be more focused, productive workers and to enjoy better work-life balance.
According to an annual survey of Care.com’s Global Workplace Solutions client employees, access to care assistance benefits, like access to online resources for hiring caregivers or finding last-minute backup care to meet unplanned care needs, helps drive down stress, improve work performance and boost job satisfaction.
Boosting productivity and reducing absenteeism are quantifiable goals attached to benefits programs. Tracking additional hours worked or projects completed can help HR prove out the return on investment of lifestyle and care assistance benefits or wellness programs. But equally important, for many organizations, is the return on objective – the ROO.
It’s no secret that leading organizations offer generous benefits programs and work perks in a strategic move to attract and retain today’s best and brightest. They lean on generous parental leave policies, unlimited vacation time, on-site dry-cleaning pickup, family care, sabbaticals and other perks to cultivate company culture and bolster their employer brands. And it works – companies with progressive employee benefits fill lists of best places to work, and typically produce better stock returns than competitors.
Indeed, employee benefits can be an effective recruiting and retention tool. Research continues to support this hypothesis.
A recent survey by GuideSpark found 87 percent of employees say benefits play a significant role in their choice of employer, and 86 percent say they play significant role in staying with an employer. According to MetLife’s Benefits Impact report, employees who are very satisfied with their benefits are nearly four times more likely to be very satisfied with their jobs (81 percent compared to 22 percent). According to the Care.com survey, 62 percent of Fortune 1000 employees said they would leave a job for better benefits, and more than half (54 percent) said they would recommend their employer to a friend because of their family assistance and lifestyle benefits.
Benefits engender loyalty by showing employees they’re valued as people, not numbers. Better benefits give employees peace of mind, and let them worry less about unexpected health or family care issues, because they know their employer has their back. This loyalty pays off for the employer through hard work, reduced turnover and employee referrals.
However, for lifestyle and family care benefits to have their desired effect – whether it’s recruiting/retention, helping employees focus on work, reducing stress or driving down healthcare costs – employers must be able to drive utilization of these benefits. A key element of driving awareness, of course, is effective communication of benefits.
This post was excerpted from Care.com's report, "The Case for Better Benefits Communication." For strategies on how to improve your employee benefits communication efforts, download our free guide below.