When organizations consider benefit offerings, ROI is a major part of the discussion, if not the only part. But when we look beyond the bottom line – and employers considering or currently offering work-life benefits are already setting the standard – we can see the value in benefits such as back-up care for dependents. So now the discussion heads into the less tangible benefits like presenteeism and employee engagement. These factors can be measured to some degree, but generally over time and without the accuracy of financial metrics.
So How Does One Measure the Value of Back-Up Care?
When I began working for Bright Horizons five years ago in our call center, I had no idea benefits like back-up care existed. Speaking to families every day with this benefit and hearing how grateful they were to their employer to have a benefit such as this made me realize the extrinsic value of a back-up care program.
I often heard from our clients’ employees that their back-up care benefit was more important to them than their health insurance! There are many stories I could tell about how much individual employees relayed to me the value of this benefit, but one particular customer interaction will always remain with me.
Back-Up Care at Work: One Employee’s Story
A woman called in having just learned of her company’s dependent-care benefit from a co-worker, but was not sure that back-up care would work for her because her children were grown. Since her employer offered adult/elder care, I was able to register her for the benefit in a matter of moments and begin explaining how her benefit worked.
As I was inquiring into her specific needs, she began to explain her situation. I could hear her sobbing softly over the phone. Her father had moved in with her recently because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. She and her siblings were trying to come to a consensus on a permanent plan.
She was so tired from working full-time and providing care for her father. She was stressed from falling behind at work and not having a single moment to herself. Her relationships were suffering as well, including her relationship with herself. I felt myself choke up because my grandfather lived next door to me growing up and suffered from the same disease. It is awful to watch someone you love go through this and I did not have to dig deep for empathy. At this moment, we were sharing the same experience.
The Bright Horizons Call Center: People Helping People
This is not an unusual story in the call center. We have working single parents, families with two working parents, some with children, and some with aging parents, all sharing this very human experience and helping each other every day. No matter what situation a family needing back-up care has, the person they are speaking to about their back-up care has experienced a similar situation themselves.
At Bright Horizons, we have HEART to guide us and part of that is the belief we are doing serious and important work. All I have to do is think about these shared experiences happening around me every day and know this is true.