Chris Duchesne, the vice president of Global Workplace Solutions, Care.com’s employer program, says that today’s workforce has become fragmented, as one in three employees are now millennials, four in five are in dual-working families and one in six are sandwiched, caring for both children and elderly relatives. Staying conscious of employees’ home situations is now key for employers. To keep employees happy, employers need to constantly stay abreast of what their employees want and need from them, and figure out if those things can be delivered.
“This demographic shift brings with it new considerations for companies seeking the right benefit programs to meet the changing needs of their employees,” Duchesne said. “Here are some of the ways that employers can adjust to be more flexible and meet these diverse needs.”
In Duchesne’s words below, there are six ways that employers can keep up with employees’ changing needs, addressing stress levels, offering benefits and shifting the company’s culture:
1. Address stress levels
Help employees manage not only their professional lives, but their personal lives as well, with programs and services to address their most pressing and stressful family needs. Rather than solely focusing on childcare, think about how you can help them take care of their aging parents, their pets and their households, too.
2. Focus on the support system at home
Reduce disruptions and distractions: despite employees’ best efforts, occasionally their normal support systems break down. Provide services such as adult and child backup care to reduce absenteeism and distractions. With regular family care supports, productivity is increased.
3. Start bending
Provide flexible work options: with respect to both work schedule and work location, as long as work gets done, put less of an emphasis on where or when it was accomplished. Recent Gallup research found employees who work remotely (even part of the time) are both more engaged and more productive.
4. Shift the culture
Create a culture of permission: employees should not fear peer or career retribution for taking personal leave. Some companies offer great programs but don’t support them with a company culture that actually encourages employees to take the time off. If senior management doesn’t set an example by partaking in benefits programs, there is a perceived standard set that while the benefit is available, it’s not really acceptable for employees to utilize it.
5. Keep in touch
Stay in touch with your employees and know what life phase they are in. This will help determine what types of benefits are appropriate for your organization. It’s also a good idea to survey employees on their interest in benefits programs to find out what would be beneficial to them.
6. Keep the genders equal
Maintain uniform benefits for men and women: with changing family dynamics, care responsibilities (whether for a child or an aging parent) no longer fall predominantly on women. Care programs that assist both men and women are essential (e.g. maternity AND paternity leave programs).
Duchesne’s tips above can help brands of any size to recruit and retain top talent and be mindful of the changing needs of today’s workforce. Paying attention and maintaining a willingness to be flexible can help companies keep employees focused.
Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well-informed in the fast paced 140-character world. He rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.