Many caregivers struggle to balance their work and caring responsibilities. Working and providing care to a person who cannot cope without support due to age, illness, disability or a mental health issue is difficult. The logistics of pursuing a professional or academic career while being a caregiver can lead to absenteeism and workday interruptions; caring for someone is not only physically exhausting but emotionally stressful, with such pressures resulting in many carers feeling unsupported.
Identifying caregivers in your teams and creating a special HR strategy for them is a must; prioritizing staff emotional wellbeing and learning needs is not only the right thing to do as a responsible employer, but also has a positive impact on the provision of quality patient care and on the employee’s performance in the workplace.
We believe in supporting carers in the workplace by developing learning cultures for families that involve the people they are taking care of in the learning process.
A competitive advantage
So, what can give your company a sustainable competitive advantage? The ability for carers to acquire any skills they want, when they want them, without content limitations. Allowing your employees to have on-demand, unlimited learning possibilities is potentially the most powerful tool a company can have.
By offering a learning platform that includes ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, videos, and courses, you can make sure that you have content for every employee profile, and also complimentary content that will be of interest to their families in their caregiving roles.
This way, the caregiver will feel supported by the company, by having a personalized learning and development path that can help them to keep growing in the workplace, while also getting their family involved in the process.
The more personalized the learning path for each employee, the more engaged this employee will feel. A learning culture is a collection of organizational conventions, values, practices, and processes. These conventions encourage employees and organizations to develop knowledge and competence. This is why identifying every employee’s professional and personal needs is key to meeting their requirements in a way that helps them to work, be involved in the caring process and to learn.
The benefits of a learning culture
Having a well-established learning culture encourages continuous learning and is consistent with the belief that systems influence each other. Since constant learning elevates an individual as a worker and as a person, it opens opportunities for the establishment to transform continuously for the better. This is true for every employee. But how does it apply to those who are caregivers whenever they are not working?
Here are some key steps in creating a learning culture focused on carers in the workplace:
Formalize training and development plans, but be flexible
For a learning culture to be ingrained, it should be mandatory for all individuals in the organization. Nevertheless, for caregivers, it is imperative to have flexibility and even to give them the opportunity to spend their learning time at home, while continuing with their caregiving tasks.
Training and development plans that are not formalized run the risk of not being taken seriously and as a result, not implemented. With a learning platform, in addition to having personalized recommendations about relevant topics for every employee, the company can arrange their own formal learning plans. Each company will be able to create personalized learning clubs that can be introductory to a company’s mission and culture, or specific for different departments: creating a leadership plan for the sales team, boosting teamwork skills within the developers’ team, or having generalized marketing training for every leadership position in the company. This kind of customization also allows you to offer flexible learning times to carers.
Give recognition to learning and effort
Employees who have successfully learned new skills and abilities should be recognized and encourage others to follow suit. Caregivers should get extra recognition because of the additional effort they make to learn and to keep upskilling and boosting their performance at work.
Involve the person being taken care of
If the employee agrees, include learning content that might be interesting for the employee and for the person that they take care of: if it’s a child, for example, include content for children or families that can be enjoyed together and that reinforces your company values. If the employee is caring for a patient, ask the carer for topics of interest for them both that can be entertaining and can teach both of them new skills.
Regularly evaluate the benefits of having a personalized learning plan in the workplace. Most importantly: talk to your employees to understand if they like their learning path and if they find it useful. When talking to carers, ask if the learning path is well adjusted to their needs and schedules.
Originally published by REBA: https://reba.global/content/how-to-develop-a-learning-culture-focused-on-carers-in-the-workplace