Many employers claim to be all-in when it comes to supporting employees who provide care for aging or ailing family members. Now, a boost from digital technology is poised to give those workers even more support.
One survey of employers, for instance, found nearly nine in 10 were interested in providing digital caregiving-support tools and services to employees. So it’s good news for employers that the Northeast Business Group on Health and AARP have teamed up to launch an online resource titled “Digital Tools and Solutions for Caregivers: An Employer’s Guide” to help HR and benefits leaders support the projected millions of employees who also are family caregivers.
“With the number of employees who are caregivers expected to increase, employers are searching for ways to better support them,” says Candice Sherman, CEO of NEBGH, who adds that rapid changes in technology make it increasingly difficult to develop effective digital programs for caregivers.
“We created this guide to help employers navigate the complex technology marketplace as new innovations are introduced,” she says.
The free guide offers several solutions, including digital platforms that connect caregivers to other caregivers and those with similar diagnoses, medical management tools, and in-home patient monitoring tools. And it guides employers through the process of developing a digital-tools program with sections addressing:
- Insights on the challenges caregivers face;
- Examples of how digital tools can meet the needs of caregivers; and
- Advice on how to assess the value added to the organization.
“Digital tools are an important component of a forward-thinking benefits package that can significantly ease the burden on caregivers’ time and can help diminish the mental and emotional burdens–including loneliness and guilt,” says Mark Cunningham-Hill, NEBGH’s medical director. “Employers should consider that the cost of these tools can be offset by increased employee engagement and retention, as well as lower absenteeism related to caregiving.”
The guide also offers help with evaluating the different types of digital features that are most beneficial to employee-caregivers and a checklist to help identify the best tools and services. Finally, the guide delivers advice on enrolling employees in a caregiving-tools program and sustaining employee engagement.
Nancy LeaMond, AARP chief advocacy and engagement officer, says employers that support family caregivers in the workplace can improve productivity and foster a stable and healthy workforce.
“This guide provides employers with the information they need to better support the 24 million family caregivers who are currently balancing work and caregiving responsibilities, and many more who will come after them,” she says.