Every company is unique and different, with policies, procedures and benefits based on the values and culture of the specific work environment. To best support an employee navigating work and cancer—or any serious medical condition—it is critical to revisit the company’s policies and make sure they are operating as intended and nothing has been left out. The work landscape changes rapidly but attracting and retaining high performing talent is a constant. How you support an employee with cancer doesn’t just impact that one staff person, it impacts how the staff as a whole sees their employer.
Some commitments to consider adding if they aren’t already in your employee handbook, include:
Respecting Privacy: The employee will determine who is told what, and when.
Protecting Employment: The employee can be assured that their job is not at risk based on disclosing their diagnosis.
Compensating Fully: Our company will continue to provide compensation while an employee works during cancer and will assist in identifying/activating income replacement opportunities if the employee chooses to take time off, to the greatest extent possible.
Troubleshooting Insurance: Our company will provide intervention and clerical assistance with the insurance eligibility and reimbursement process.
Supporting Managers: The manager will be empowered to structure work, deadlines and scheduling to support their employee with cancer as well as the rest of their team.
Providing Flexibility: The employee and manager will determine how, when and where work gets done to support treatment, rest and recovery as well productivity and business needs.
Continuing To Develop: The employee will have continued access to professional development opportunities.
Connecting To Resources: Our company will make every effort to provide information on cancer and working/managing through treatment.
While this list is in no way exhaustive, the goal is make sure you are looking at the policies through the lens of the person experiencing a crisis and identifying any missing pieces that would improve support and productivity. It is also important to consider how these kinds of commitments can help caregiving employees.