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Employer support – why it matters to employees with cancer
A cancer diagnosis can quickly turn someone’s life upside down, impacting everything from the family room to the boardroom. The effect of cancer in the workforce is huge – in fact, one in three adults in America is diagnosed with cancer. This means that potentially a third of your workforce could find themselves on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis or could become a caregiver to someone else.
Given both the personal and financial ramifications of cancer on a workforce, your HR team has the potential to become a critical point of contact for connecting employees with the support they need. According to the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 81% of employees with cancer crave emotional support from their employer, while 85% would like practical support. And yet, nearly half of all employers do not provide employee cancer support benefits.
Here are a few ways you can offer workplace support for employees with cancer:
- Assess your benefits package. With 200 types of cancer, no two cancer experiences are the same. Navigating a diagnosis and understanding the prognosis can be overwhelming for the patient and their families. By providing a service that supports employees as they embark on their treatment plan, you can provide meaningful support during a time of uncertainty. As an extension of your benefits package, CancerBridge offers employees with immediate, one-on-one personalized cancer support, expertise and guidance, helping to ease the fear of the unknown so people feel empowered to make the best decisions for themselves and their health.
- Lead with empathy. A cancer diagnosis – no matter the type or stage – is devastating for employees and their families. While it’s important to discuss the implications of the diagnosis on the employee’s role, it’s even more important to remember that at the heart of this is a human being who is likely scared and overwhelmed. Always lead with empathy, demonstrating you care deeply about the person, their family and their health.
- Respond quickly. While employees aren’t legally required to disclose a cancer diagnosis to their employer, when they do, it’s important to act quickly so they know right away what benefits are available to them. Whether it’s helping them understand medical benefits, connecting them with a service like CancerBridge to support them throughout the experience, or simply helping them understand the various types of medical leave options they have available. One of the most agonizing aspects of a cancer diagnosis is waiting, so swift communication on your part goes a long way.
- Don’t stop there. When treatment stops, an employee’s cancer experience doesn’t. It’s important to support an employee for ongoing cancer prevention after treatment, including follow-up appointments, more frequent screenings, or long-term side effects that could influence their work (e.g., fatigue, memory loss). As their body heals from treatment, it’s crucial to also acknowledge the mental and emotional consequences the event has had on them. These side effects usually surface once physical treatment is complete. Flexibility, empathy, and communication are key as they navigate the next steps.
People employed full time spend a third of their lives at work. So, their work family – and the support they receive – becomes of critical importance. As your partner, CancerBridge is an innovative way for employers to show employees and their immediate family members that they care about their health and wellbeing.
Experts who care, for employers who care.
Schedule a consultation and learn how we can integrate with your current benefits package.