The Growing Need for Family-Care Support and Its Impact on Employees

BY Carrie Snider | September 13, 2023

Angelina Shamborska had no clue where to start. Her mother, living in Ukraine, had just been diagnosed with challenging health issues and needed her help. “Imagine dealing with that amount of stress and the unknown,” Shamborska said.

Ironically, Shamborska is the senior director of global benefits at San Francisco-based IT company Okta, but providing family-care support to its employees was new to them. And she was about to experience the benefits firsthand.

In a fireside chat at From Day One’s webinar, “The Economic Impact of Family-Care Support: A Case Study,” Shamborska discussed what it’s been like working with Grayce, a company providing family-care support for Okta and many other companies. Julia Cohen Sebastien, CEO and co-founder of Grayce, joined the discussion, speaking to the value of family-care support and its impact on employees.

Trending: Caregiving Benefits

When trying to attract and retain top talent, competitive salary and benefits including medical and retirement options are crucial. But there is a growing segment of benefit options that employees are asking for: caregiving benefits.

With the sandwich generation balancing both childcare and aging parent care, caregiving can feel like a full time job, often leaving people with no choice but to leave their job. Employees need support, and employers need innovative solutions.

Part of Shamborska’s role at Okta is to analyze health care and employee well-being trends, and she quickly picked up on the trending topic of caregiving. “The landscape, especially in the U.S., is highly evolving,” she said. “By 2030, about one in five people in the US will be older than 65.”

That’s significant in terms of impact on healthcare, and companies need to consider those aging needs when updating medical plans. But companies should also think about this: their employees will likely be caring for aging loved ones. The truth is, it’s already trending.

“Caregiving support was a top-three ask from my employees,” Shamborska explained, sourcing surveys, focus groups, and employee resource groups. Third only to 401k matching and employee recognition. From her own research and employee feedback, it was obvious that Okta needed to offer family-care support to its 6,000 global employees. But how and what exactly?

That’s where Grayce came in. Founded right before Covid hit, its expert consultants are dedicated to helping people navigate their unique caregiving situations. Consultants have master’s level training in social work or similar fields, and they’ve worked a number of years with relevant populations, many of them around the globe. Grayce offers a combination of services in terms of care planning, concierge support, technology solutions, community connection, tools, and trackers.

“Among all of Grayce’s new clients, about a third of the care scenarios we’re supporting are people caring for other types of adults or loved ones,” Cohen Sebastien said. Some of the highest claimants are cancer, kidney disease, cardiovascular, complex mental health, and more. Each one of those requires caregiving, but people aren’t sure of their options.

Journalist Kelly Bourdet, bottom right, moderated the discussion among Cohen Sebastien and Shamborska (photo by From Day One)

Shamborska found herself in that situation when her mom was diagnosed. “The consultant at Grayce has been just an absolute lifesaver. It was a complicated, international case,” she explained. “I felt absolutely confident with the information that was provided. They were able to find a place for my mother and hospice care. It was a very hard journey, so having that support was immeasurable.”

Impact on Employees

Caregiving can be a lonely venture, and it can cause a lot of stress. As Cohen Sebastien explained, caregivers have an 8-10% higher medical cost than non-caregivers, and many caregivers end up in poor health as a result of burnout.

What do you do if you think your mother might have dementia? Or your sibling needs surgery and requires your help during recovery, but you don’t know how long that will last or what you’ll need to do for them? This has a direct impact on the caregiver’s emotions and their work life. The idea behind offering family-support benefits is to provide the best possible information and resources so that not only the loved one is cared for, but also the employee.

Even though Shamborska went through a tough situation with her mom, because of Grayce the transition was much smoother. Besides some travel time, she didn’t have to devote much time figuring out the next steps and all the intricacies of caregiving overseas. That gave her peace of mind in a time of hardship.

“A huge aspect of Grayce’s value is support for the caregiver themselves,” Shamborska added. “I was eternally grateful for Grayce and their team supporting me. But I’m hearing the same story from the people that we support. And I’m very proud that at Okta, we send a very strong signal that we support our employees as they care for their loved ones. Again, we want to make sure that they’re productive, they’re present, that they’re effective. But we do also care, we want to ensure that they feel good, and we have the tools and resources we are able to offer to them.”

This personal touch has had an impact. Grayce did a study with all of the eligibility data that was available for 10,000+ employees they cover. What they saw was that of those that had access to and used the Grayce program, they had 38% lower attrition than all of those who had access to Grayce who did not use the solution. That’s good news for employers who want to keep top talent, but it’s also good news for employees—who, with family-support benefits, feel supported, less stressed, and stay in their careers.

“We’ve seen 98% reporting gains in productivity, typically of a week or more,” Cohen Sebastien said. “And we’ve also seen that about half 49% have said that it’s reduced their need to take leave.” Now that’s a much better trend.

Editor’s note: From Day One thanks our partner, Grayce, for sponsoring this webinar. 

Carrie Snider is a Phoenix, Ariz.-based journalist and marketing copywriter. 


The New Age of HR: Meeting Higher Corporate Performance Demands

While its applications are still being puzzled over, artificial intelligence is already gaining a foothold in human resources decision-making. Neil Taylor, vice president of product marketing for workforce planning software maker Visier, maintains that AI is in a position to be leveraged to improve the performance of company managers – and by extension, their employees.In a thought leadership spotlight titled “The New Age of HR: Meeting Higher Corporate Performance Demands,” at From Day One’s Minneapolis conference, Taylor points to generative AI, which can create new content and ideas, as a potential conduit to attracting and keeping the best talent.“I’m the first to admit that I think about Gen AI taking my job all the time,” said Taylor. “But I would just challenge everyone to think about how Gen AI can impact work for the better.”Taylor points to a generative AI assistant that can be trained to offer insights about personnel that might not be accessible by more conventional means.Neil Taylor, Vice President Product Marketing at Visier led the session titled, "The New Age of HR: Meeting Higher Corporate Performance Demands"“There are huge advancements in bringing in data – specifically, data about anyone in the organization,” says Taylor. “You can ask a natural language question and get a natural language response in seconds, and it's tailored to your organization's data. It really allows people who need to make decisions about people to get insights in a matter of seconds.”Taylor pointed to a Deloitte study saying that only about 3% of executives say they have sufficient information about their employees to make good HR decisions. That’s where AI technology has the potential to fill the gaps that can be left by intuition alone.“People managers are getting squeezed,” he said. “They’re under an immense amount of pressure to do more with less.”As a work in progress, generative AI is being employed mostly by early adopters at the moment. But Taylor encouraged managers to at least give it a test drive. Industry analyst Josh Bersin has stated that only a small percentage of HR teams even have a strategy around generative AI. That potential needs to be tapped soon, says Taylor.“AI is going to unlock this huge wave of productivity increase,” he said. “It has all this horsepower, but that horsepower is essentially sitting in the stable.”Editor’s note: From Day One thanks our partner, Visier, for sponsoring this thought leadership spotlight.Dan Heilman is a writer and editor based in St. Paul, Minn.

Dan Heilman | June 19, 2024

Embracing a New Paradigm of Women’s Leadership

In the landscape of leadership today, there are still far fewer women at the senior levels than men—and it's not necessarily getting better.At From Day One’s May virtual conference, LeeAnn Mallorie, founder and CEO of Guts and Grace Leadership, spoke about a new paradigm of women's leadership, coaching, and training. “Since the pandemic, things may have gotten worse in certain industries and certain organizations. We know that there’s a gap. Sometimes it’s called the leadership cliff, meaning when you get to a certain level, it starts to be harder to get promoted,” Mallorie said.The business world continues to rapidly change, many women left the workforce during the pandemic, and this disruptive period can put diverse leaders at risk. Fortunately, it is also an excellent time for opportunities and advancement for these leaders. If we think about the old paradigm of leadership, where things were only done a certain way, this current level of disruption can also open the door for a different type of thinking. Mallorie says that with a new paradigm, we can bring ourselves to lead in a more holistic and resilient way.Mallorie says that women in leadership roles have fueled transformation during a volatile time. Research has also shown that feminine leadership embodies qualities that have been incredibly useful in times of change. Emotional intelligence, active listening, collaboration, creativity, and imagination shine through when women are fully activated in leadership positions. So then the question becomes, what makes the difference?LeeAnn Mallorie led the thought leadership spotlightThere’s a new paradigm of success in which women can be fully activated in the workplace, according to Mallorie. Per her 20 years of experience, when people are fully activated, they're more centered. “They’re feeling cared for in their 30s. They're the ones driving the innovation. Perhaps they’re building culture and leading visionary teams.”Under pressure, we often find ourselves in a different mode. Mallorie calls this an “old paradigm success model” where the internal dialogue sounds like, ‘I have to perform, and when I get there, things will be a certain way.’ With this mindset, women begin to plateau amidst all the pressure. There can also be a lot of resentment or burnout. During times like these, it’s important to look deeper and process how one can find their way through this state, says Mallorie.Effective coaching and training should focus on various things in order for women to move from surviving to thriving. First is advancing technical skills, like learning how to negotiate or get better at a tactical part of one’s job. The second is remaining conscious of bias.Mallorie discusses a third ingredient to help change the game: leading with grace. “We refer to embodiment, focusing on the self, working toward wholeness, working at the identity level,” Mallorie said. It’s about understanding other people’s traumas and motivations as well.“During the early career survival strategies, what’s getting in the way might be the baggage [like internalized oppression] that one is carrying,” she said. “I will often talk about dismantling the patriarchy within. As women in leadership, there's often something we’re carrying or performing to, or that has just become part of our DNA and trying to get into these types of workplaces. And when that’s not addressed, we don’t fully solve the problem.”There are four domains that leaders can focus on when coaching others, says Mallorie. These include, embody, empower, activate, and inspire. As an embodied leader, you must use your body, energy, and time in ways that serve yourself and others well. An empowered leader has a positive mindset, and she navigates her emotions effectively under pressure. An activated leader acts with integrity and purpose and takes healthy risks to serve her organization. An inspired leader shares her vision and naturally inspires others to follow her lead.By embracing a new paradigm of leadership that harnesses feminine strength rather than going against it and suppressing natural qualities in favor of patriarchal standards, we may find a new brand of leadership and new ways of working that can bring more growth and success.Editor’s note: From Day One thanks our partner, Guts and Grace Leadership, for sponsoring this thought leadership spotlight.Keren's love for words saw her transition from a corporate employee into a freelance writer during the pandemic. When she is not at her desk whipping up compelling narratives and sipping on endless cups of coffee, you can find her curled up with a book, playing with her dog, or pottering about in the garden.

Keren Dinkin | June 18, 2024

Applying Machine Learning and AI in HR: Proven Playbooks and Approaches

Jason Radisson, founder and CEO of Movo has a simple request of human resources executives: Don’t be afraid of the future.Movo is an AI-powered human capital management tool for the frontline. In a thought leadership spotlight at From Day One’s Minneapolis event, Radisson led a presentation titled “Applying Machine Learning and AI in HR: Proven Playbooks and Approaches,” where he went over some potential applications of innovative technology.“It doesn’t have to be scary, and it doesn’t have to be vague,” said Radisson, who previously was a general manager for Uber. “When I started Movo, I wanted to try to figure out how to bring a modern, flexible experience to everybody else’s workforce.”This early in its adoption process, Radisson says that AI is mostly reserved for the recruitment and retention of white-collar talent. But that could be changing.Jason Radisson of Movo led the thought leadership spotlight in Minneapolis“Now, what we’re talking about is a little bit more like outsourcing,” he says. “If you look at a lot of the different operations that we run in H.R., those are the classic things that already can be automated.“We’re starting to see globally that there just aren’t enough people to take these jobs. How long have we not had traders on the stock floor at most of the major markets in the world? How long has it been since an airline ticket was manually priced? There are all kinds of areas where AI and advanced systems already can generate a lot of value.”Another use case for AI and machine learning in the HR realm could be the ability to treat remote locations and distributed work locations just like you would an office building, says Radisson.“We’re in a flex, multiple-location kind of a world,” he says. “With today’s AI, a person at the head office with a smart system can distribute tasks and follow up on those tasks, wherever the’'re happening in the world.”Radisson left the audience with a piece of advice to continue to progress and stay ahead of innovative technological transformations: “I think all of us right now should have some kind of AI counsel,” he said.Referring to “somebody in the company that’s really looking forward to six months or 12 months trying to see what’s coming: Where would it make sense to pilot this? Do we have the developers we need? Do we need to borrow somebody else's developer platform? What’s the cost benefit? Just experimenting, seeing if a piece of automation adds value to the company.”Editor’s note: From Day One thanks our partner, Movo, for sponsoring this thought leadership spotlight.Dan Heilman is a writer and editor based in St. Paul, Minn.

Dan Heilman | June 17, 2024