Making Reward Personal: SMEs should find out who needs to care, and give bespoke support, research finds

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Research released to mark the start of National Carers Week shows employers are still not taking a personal approach to employees with caring responsibilities.

The research, by My Family Care and The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei), finds 40% of carers feel they don’t get the support they need from their bosses. It also reveals only 38% of employers monitor the caring responsibilities of their workforce.

The 1,000-strong survey found respondents felt well catered for childcare provision, but very few said their employer had sufficient procedures in place for those caring for elderly parents, grandparents, siblings or partners. Some 35% of employees said they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ have any kind of support network available to them.

Ben Black, director, My Family Care said: “This research highlights the need for businesses to find out who of their staff are caring for loved ones and may be in need of extra help.” He added: “The rise of the ‘invisible carer’ is only going to get worse as our population ages and more and more people will have to balance work with their caring responsibilities.”

Providing access to an employee helpline or assistance programme was the most popular tool used by employers who did provide help (80%), followed by provision of technology to work remotely (77%), and paid time off to deal with family emergencies (71%). But, only one-in-three firms said they have specific communications targeting their carers at work

Debbie Rotchell, associate consultant, enei said: “The research shows there is still a gap between what carers would like and what employers currently provide. Our results found a wide range of approaches; some organisations have a wealth of tailored policies and procedures whilst others don't have any formal guidance for carers, but have flexibility in the way they support employees to find bespoke arrangements that balance everyone's needs.”

It is estimated there are around 7 million UK adults providing unpaid care to a sick, disabled (of any age) or elderly person. More than 3 million of these combine it with paid work, meaning 1 in 9 of the UK workforce has a caring responsibility of some sort.

According to Rotchell, organisations can no longer rely on a one-size fits all approach to their benefits. She argued a much more personalised approach is needed. She said: “Employers need to find out who their carers are, and then talk to them about the support they would like.” She added: “Employers and employees must find a way of working together and talking openly about their issues in order to find the best solutions.'

The growing need to take a more personal approach to reward management is behind Reward’s special ‘Making Reward Personal’ conference.

A packed speaker programme will reveal the benefits of a more personalised strategy to reward.

For further details of this free-to-attend conference, click here.