The best human resource programs and policies are those that make life better for employees while also improving one or more aspects of the company’s profitability, resiliency, stability or risk profile. A properly designed caregiver support program fits this bill.

Companies can never know when their most valued and trusted employees will suddenly become caregivers, so having a program in place is the best way to retain talent and support the people who are key to your company’s success. Get started with these first five steps.

Step 1: Assess how caregiver-friendly your company currently is.

The first step is to take an honest look at how well your current policies support employees who need greater flexibility in order to care for a loved one. Take this free assessment to get a benchmarking score and a report showing where your company can make improvements.

Step 2: Determine current employee needs with a survey.

Do you know how many caregivers you currently have in your workforce? Find out with an employee survey. Research shows that many workers are uncomfortable sharing this information with their supervisors due to the fear of being seen as less committed to their job, so it would be wise to conduct the survey anonymously.

Additionally, many caregivers do not identify with the term, and simply view themselves as a mother/father, daughter/son, sister/brother or friend, even though they have many caregiving responsibilities. Ensure your survey asks about the tasks involved in caregiving, not just the identify itself.

Your survey should include such questions as:

  • Do you provide assistance with daily living activities to a family member, friend or neighbor who has a disability or special health care need? Give examples of daily living activities, like grocery shopping, preparing food, providing transportation, assisting with medication, etc.
  • Do you currently have a child or another individual with physical or developmental disabilities living with you who requires your attention or support?
  • How many hours per week do you spend caring for someone who depends on you for support?
  • How many times in the last month have you had to adjust your work hours (leave early, come in late, request time off) to care for someone else?

You may want your questions to distinguish between parents of typically developing children and others.

Be sure to include the question, “Would you be willing to serve on a steering committee to help our company improve how we support caregivers?” Recruiting volunteers at this step will help demonstrate company motive and commitment and give you a group of people to consult for Step 3.

Step 3: Form an Employee Resource Group for Caregivers

Based on the results of your survey, convene an Employee Resource Group (ERG) and invite stakeholders to discuss and design a program of caregiver support that works for your company.

Make sure that the group includes a range of caregiver types (caregiving for an aging parent, caregiving for a young child with disabilities, caregiving for a spouse with a chronic health condition).

Ensure your group includes multiple hierarchical levels from the organizations (frontline workers, managers, directors, executives) so that all needs can be represented and to affirm management buy-in.

Step 4: Make a plan.

Set a timeframe for the Employee Resource Group to come up with a plan and suggested policies for your new caregiver-support program. Consider consulting with a benefit company such as Homethrive to help you manage these new benefits.

At this step, consider how to secure management support for the culture shift around caregiving — ideally with overt endorsement from a management-level employee who is also a caregiver. If employees feel that their supervisors do not support the new benefits, they will be less likely to take advantage of them.

Step 5: Communicate the program.

Even at companies that already offer caregiver benefits, research shows that awareness among caregiver employees is low. A key part of your plan should be a detailed campaign for communicating your new benefits and making sure that employees know about the new program.

Add an additional chapter to your benefits handbook and send regular reminders in company emails, intranet announcements, newsletter and other communications. Communication should be company-wide and part of new hire orientation.

Even for employees who aren’t currently caregivers, knowing that company support is there when the time comes can provide great reassurance and loyalty to the company.

Ready to create a more caregiver-friendly workplace?

Here are three ways you can get started:

Explore the Caregiver-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

Learn how companies with effective caregiver-friendly programs and policies can be better places to work and more profitable, too.

Go to Toolkit

Host a Screening of the “Unseen” Documentary

The “Unseen” documentary gives an unfiltered, honest glimpse into the lives of caregivers and their families.


Homethrive is transforming the way we care, making it smarter, easier, and more rewarding for everyone.

Whether caring for a loved one due to age, disability, or a medical condition, our intuitive online platform provides personalized advice and expert assistance, however and whenever it’s needed. We help caregivers discover a better way forward that prioritizes their loved one’s care and their own wellbeing, so they can thrive at home and at work.