Adland must better accommodate caregivers to retain talent – Here’s how

After Dentsu UK announced would launch its first-ever emergency carer policy, The Drum takes a broader look at agencies implementing similar schemes and asks why support for workers with caring responsibilities may be key to retaining staff during the talent crunch.

According to Carers UK, around one in eight adults, or 6.5 million people across the country, is a carer. Since the Covid-19 epidemic, his research has revealed that 9% of caregivers have given up on their jobs. Additionally, amid the cost of living crisis, more than half (52%) report feeling anxious or stressed about their finances.

Employers therefore have to deal with the adaptation of talent – ​​or lose it. For example, more and more working parents are being pushed out of adland due to the rising cost of childcare – carers of other types are also being neglected by the lack of an accommodation policy.

At Dentsu, Sarah Painter, vice president of customer experience at Merkle, who helped create its new policy, says its implementation “is such a relief to have in place.”

“While I always work flexibly to meet my caregiving needs, knowing that this safety net is there eases the anxiety of combining care and work. It gives me the opportunity to ‘accurately record appointment times and gives me peace of mind that when the next emergency arises, I can give my daughter’s needs my full attention.

So what are other organizations doing to meet the needs of caregivers?

Bridging the gap

Historically, additional leaves or accommodations for caregivers may have been added to parental leave policies; however, this did not take into account caregiving responsibilities to other family members or close people.

As Charlie Glynn, UK Human Resources Director at M&C Saatchi Group explains: “While supporting parents is essential, we know that many of our employees have caring responsibilities towards an elderly person, another member of family or a friend.”

Therefore, a parent or carer working within the M&C Saatchi Group, regardless of seniority or length of service, now has access to 10 days of free assistance per year, with replacement care for any child or adult in his care in the event that his usual provider is unavailable for any reason.

Using the centralized booking system developed with Bright Horizons partners, M&C Saatchi Group staff can access emergency care within two hours, whether they need in-home childcare, crèche , a childminder, a holiday club or an elderly care specialist.

Meanwhile, although IPG does not have a separate policy for carers, a spokesperson told The Drum that its work leave policy includes a ‘caring for dependents and partners’ section. which has been in place for years.

For the purposes of the policy, “dependents” include a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or someone who lives with the employee, such as a friend or roommate. In addition, this includes any other person who would reasonably rely on the employee for assistance if they become ill or are injured or assaulted, or who would rely on the employee to arrange for the provision of care in the event of illness or injury.

In the worst-case scenario, instead of a flexible carer policy, workers would have to use their annual leave pay to meet their caring responsibilities, which would contribute to burnout by not taking enough time. time to rest.

As Elaine Grell, Chief People Officer UK and EMEA at Ogilvy explains: “Until now, carers have had to use annual leave for family responsibilities, but now they can request additional leave to help them plan ahead. advance their caring responsibilities. With this planned leave, they have more choice in how and when to manage the often invisible responsibilities they may have.”

Grell also explains that Ogilvy’s recently increased flexibility for caregivers also extends to compassionate, annual and special leave for those who may, unfortunately, be victims of domestic violence.

“We have spent time updating our personnel policies and guidelines to reflect today’s society and modern families. They are now fully inclusive and supportive of the life changes our people can experience when they need it. »

Dentsu and Publicis also introduced policies for workers affected by domestic violence this year, and IPG’s Parents/Dependents Policy also extends to allow workers to provide assistance when someone dependent falls ill, gives birth, is injured or assaulted.

Paula Cunnington, Chief Talent Officer of Publicis Groupe UK, specifies that “all these programs are accompanied by training and work to raise awareness of certain issues facing our employees. We know that today more people than ever are balancing work and family responsibilities, and we are working to raise awareness across our company of this to ensure that all of our managers and teams provide the same level of support for our caregivers. ”

Eleanor Conroy, director of communications at Publicis, tells The Drum that since joining the company two years ago, she has benefited directly from the support, having regularly had to take time off for appointments at the office. hospital and others – “and I know other people who have also benefited,” she says.

If you want to read more stories like this, sign up for The Drum’s Work and Wellbeing briefing here.

About John McTaggart

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