By: Alex Yoss, MSW, Customer Success Manager at Cariloop

 

How has your organization adapted during Covid times?
COVID-19 has changed the world in so many ways, but the biggest has been that we have greatly emphasized how we care for others. While it was always there, the pandemic highlighted the massive need for caregiver support, and we as an organization pivoted and expanded in the types of needs we supported caregivers with. As the U.S. came to a pause, our Care Coaches sprung into action, supporting working parents with everything from contacting daycare providers to understand availability and COVID-19 protocols, to exploring alternative childcare options through family, church and community networks, to providing child enrichment ideas and navigating the rapidly-changing education landscape.

Supporting families with adult and eldercare needs offered similar challenges. Care Coaches contacted care facilities to relay information about constantly evolving COVID-19 protocols to families. They explored in-home care alternatives as provider options became more limited because of safety concerns. All the while, our Care Coaches explored ways to encourage these exhausted caregivers to take a moment to care for themselves.

These early learnings led us to enact swift changes that would allow us to maximize the number of caregivers we were able to support and increase accessibility to our services. Of the numerous overwhelming challenges employees have faced during the pandemic, navigating childcare was one of the most pressing challenges, and therefore, we hired additional Care Coaches specializing with pediatrics and educational backgrounds to take a holistic approach to supporting children. We also placed greater emphasis on pediatric support in our marketing and provided customized content and presentations to each of our customers to ensure working parents took advantage of this resource provided by their employer.

 

How have you helped your employees manage stress caused by the pandemic?
We have implemented multiple new benefits to help Cariloop employees manage stress caused by the pandemic, such as:

  • When covid first hit, we gave our Care Coaches extra Time Away on a rotating schedule, to make sure they all had time to figure out childcare/virtual learning with things being suddenly shut down, or just have some days to take a break from juggling both and spend with their family.
  • We did a kids story time for where 2 leaders read books for 30 minutes a day to all of the Looper kids to give all of the parents 30 minutes where they could work/shower/nap/sit in silence while we virtually entertained all the kiddos.
  • We encouraged the whole team to be sure they are taking their Time Away even more to have a chance to recharge.
  • We created as much of a flexible work environment as possible, where we can also have open conversations about our real lives and see people as people as they try to juggle all the things.
  • We implemented Headspace as a benefit for all employees to have access to.
  • We defined more of our leave policies to support our Loopers with whatever life event comes their way, including implementing a specific caregiver leave for those needing time and space to care for a loved one.

 

What does employee well-being mean to you?
To me, employee well-being means seeking to understand and create the harmony of work and life. Well-being is so important when it comes to work-life balance. It’s also important to understand the needs of employees and that no two situations are the same. This idea is really rooted in the core of our organization. From the very beginning of Cariloop’s week-long orientation process, we encourage all Loopers to never be afraid to ask, “Why?” This encouragement is based on the principles in Simon Sinek’s work, Start with Why, and we expect everyone in the organization to ask and be able to answer why questions about any initiative or decision we make.

We also begin orientation with a conversation about core values that is rooted in the principle of “seeing people as people.” This is a concept from the Arbinger Institute’s Leadership and Self Deception, and it allows us to align everyone around the fact that we are all human beings who deserve to be seen and celebrated for the unique people we are as we work towards achieving our common vision of creating the global standard for the way we support caregivers, families and each other. Both asking “Why?” but also starting with why are aspects of things that support our employee well-being. If our employees are seen as people and feel valued, than they will also be seen as truly part of the team and can grow connections to help support caregivers, families and each other.

 

In your opinion, how can employers best engage their employees in their health and well-being, especially during the pandemic when a majority of the workforce is remote?
Being human first. Genuinely check in and take an interest in your employees’ lives outside of work. What brings them joy? What are their current challenges? What goals do they have? Building an authentic relationship with your employees is important, especially if they are dealing with challenges outside of work. Maybe they are caring for their kids or a sick relative outside of work. Support goes a long way.

While offering benefits and checking in on employees is important, we have also created a culture of care within our organization. Cariloop’s establishment as a value-centric organization signifies our commitment to servant leadership. We chose not to follow a traditional organizational chart of hierarchical structures in order to communicate to everyone on our team the supportive and collaborative environment we want to foster. The result of establishing these foundations has been a culture of care where “How can I be supporting you?” is a frequently asked question and our team as a whole is more worried about doing right by the people we serve than about being right.

 

What motivates you to keep doing the work that you do?
Knowing that there are so many caregivers going through the overwhelming journey alone is what motivates me. We have a lot of people that need support and we are on a mission to help as many as possible. Did you know 73% of U.S. employees have caregiving responsibilities and are spending an average of 24 hours per week on caregiving responsibilities? Without caregiver support, many will be forced to leave the workforce. As I work with HR directors and company leaders, I am hearing each day from them about how Cariloop and caregiver support has impacted their employees. Hearing stories about the lives we are changing and helping people through their most difficult moments is what keeps me inspired and motivated each day.