Home Depot offers dependent care for employees


Home Depot has a new employee perk that really highlights the wisdom of enlightened self-interest at work in capitalism.

So often if you have to miss work when you have a sick child or an ailing elderly parent, you get in trouble. As a longtime business owner, I can tell you employee absenteeism is brutal for your business. There’s no doubt that it lowers the quality of service to customers and can ultimately hurt your reputation.

But the real problem here is that your employees’ problems becomes yours when you’re the boss. The typical defensive position most businesses take is, “Well, it’s your problem. Figure out a way to solve it.”

Home Depot, however, has a different idea. The home improvement store is implementing a new program called “back up dependent care” that’s very rare in corporate America.

With back up dependent care, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Home Depot employees can get emergency day care or in-home care for a child or elder up to 10 workdays each year. The employee simply pays a deductible of $35 each time and the company picks up the rest of the tab.

Home Depot believes back up dependent care will be a great recruiting tool. Maybe so. But in my book, I think it’s so cool because it creates a more reliable, loyal workforce right now. When the chips are down, Home Depot is standing by its employees.

That’s my challenge for you if you’re a business owner: Come up with ways that let employees know they’re cared about without breaking the bank. Get rid of the mindset that says, “Shouldn’t they just be happy I’m giving them a paycheck and a job?” No!

Organizational management experts will tell you pay is only a dis-satisfier. The real satisfier is how you treat your employees. Are they valued? Do they feel they’re respected? If you answered “yes,” that will lead to loyal employees who make you more money.

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