Please forgive the direct question but who are you caring for? Or, if you are not caring for someone right now, who do you expect to be looking after in the future? A parent or another elderly relative? Perhaps your partner or a sibling with a long-term condition? Or a disabled son or daughter? Perhaps a friend or neighbour who has had an operation or an accident?
Sustainability is one of those ubiquitous words, which can also be very slippery, as different people understand the word differently.
“Perhaps after the Caring journey is over is the hardest part of caring”
As company after company has found to its cost, corporate responsibility is a competitive differentiator. Be branded corporately irresponsible, and media news stories and images will soon send customers into the arms of your competitors.
With at least one in nine employees in the average UK workforce being a carer for a loved one, boards should value and support these employee carers—or risk losing them, which impacts upon business and society.
James Ashwell was a 25 year-old strategy consultant with the global consulting firm Accenture when he received a phone call at work informing him that his dad, just 64, had died suddenly a few hours previously.
Twenty odd years ago, few big businesses embraced responsible business. Those that did tended to adopt particular aspects such as tackling pollution, race & gender equality or supporting urban and community regeneration.
You might be familiar with the classic definition of sustainable development as formulated by the Brundtland Commission in 1987: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Today, we might more immediately define sustainable development as how 9-10 billion people will live at least reasonably well, within the constraints of One Planet, by mid-century.
David Grayson says smart employers understand the business case for helping the growing number of older employees with caring responsibilities.
I went half-time in my job at Cranfield to look after my mum in her final years. Like many others, I hadn’t thought of myself as a ‘carer’ early on - just someone doing what they wanted to do for a parent who’d always cared for me. And I struggled. My social and professional circles narrowed, efforts at staying fit were abandoned.
Employers large and small need to take care! They are at risk of losing some of their most valued and valuable employees. They will not lose these employees to competitors or to self-employment but to the employees’ loved ones, for whom the employees have significant caring responsibilities.