Valuable skills & experience
Caring can impact on people across the whole working age spectrum, although tends to hit a peak at an age when many employees will have gained valuable skills and experience.
Losing carers from the workforce is not only damaging to individuals and their families, but also damaging to employers and the wider economy.
As the population ages, and the number of carers rises, the effects of losing carers from the workforce will grow. In addition to being good employment practice, supporting carers to remain productively in work delivers real benefits to employers.
The business benefits of supporting carers
The population is ageing. As we care for our older relatives and friends, caring will increasingly become a part of more and more people’s everyday lives, impacting on those in and out of work.
Combined with this, we are working longer. More of us will become carers, and more of us will be working carers.
As an employer, the need to recognise this will continue to represent an important factor in workforce management, and in the ability to retain a healthy and productive workforce.
An employee might have been caring for a long time or find themselves faced with new caring responsibilities without much warning or time for preparation. Either way, the difficulty of managing the dual pressures of work and home life can be hard to bear. Without support, carers may suffer from stress, exhaustion and might not perform as productively as they potentially are able to. Some feel driven to give up work because it simply becomes too much.
The impact this can have on employers is easy to understand. Losing valuable members of staff can result in a loss of skills, knowledge and experience as well as leading to increased recruitment and training costs.
At a time when many organisations are under pressure because of external economic factors, it makes good business sense to have a working environment where members of staff who are carers feel supported to work productively, and crucially to remain with their employer.
Evidence has shown that supportive policies and working practices:
- attracts and retains staff
- reduces stress and sickness absence
- reduces recruitment and training costs
- increases resilience and productivity
- improves service delivery
- produces cost savings
- improves people management and staff morale..
Carer Positive, Fair Work and the Scottish Business Pledge
The Carer Positive initiative fits with Scottish Government aspirations to promote fairer working practices across Scotland.
As part of its Fair Work aspirations, the Scottish Government most recently published Fair Work First guidance in January 2021, which supports employers and public sector partners to implement these practices. Principles and criteria within this include creating a healthy and safe environment where individuals' wellbeing is actively supported, enabling a good work-life balance, as well as action to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
The guidance is intended to be used by those involved in awarding public sector grants, sponsorship and other funding, and contracts, and those seeking to access/accessing such funding and/or contracts.
Becoming recognised as a Carer Positive Employer is highlighted as an example of best practice within the guidance and may help organisations demonstrate their commitment to Fair Work First.
The Fair Work tool for employers also enables organisations to self-assess their working practices against the dimensions of Fair Work.
Fair Work is an investment in everyone for everyone. Fair Work can improve organisational reputation and recruitment, reduce staff turnover, and lead to diverse workplaces with a richness of talent and a diversity of ideas.