At Mercer, our colleagues are at the heart of our business. Over 2,000 colleagues come to work to make a difference in peoples’ lives by building healthier, more sustainable futures for our clients, our communities and each other.
We recognise and embrace the great diversity of talent we have at Mercer. Our colleagues are unique and each at a different stage of their career, balancing different personal priorities and passions. We want to support our colleagues on their journey and create an inclusive environment where their wellbeing is a priority and they have the flexibility and support to thrive at work and with their families.
Caring responsibilities takes on many forms for working families, from caring for young children to ageing family members and those with a disabilities and mental and physical health conditions.
We know that 70% of primary carers in Australia are women. Supporting working families is essential to ensure our female colleagues have the same opportunities to build a rewarding career at Mercer, while also providing all our colleagues, regardless of role or gender or age, with the same opportunities to take on caring responsibilities when they need to.
In early 2021, Mercer launched a first-of-its-kind support service Care & Living with Mercer, a digitally-enabled, human-supported service designed to help older Australians and their families plan, implement, and monitor arrangements for their ageing care and living needs.
Many of our colleagues are in the position where they too need to support their families plan for the future or make arrangements for current needs. As Mercer continues to explore new opportunities to provide impactful support for our colleagues, beyond carers leave, we were very excited to launch Care & Living with Mercer as a new employee benefit this year.
Care & Living with Mercer provides an easy to use and secure web-based portal with a self-guided and personalised roadmap, covering the full range of ageing care options across living at home, independent retirement living and residential aged care. Support is highly individualised and helps navigate an often personally difficult time with less of the complexity and information overload that navigating Australia’s aged care system historically brings. Colleagues have the option to choose the Care Concierge service for a fee, consisting of advice from health professionals trained in navigating the ageing care system.
Care & Living with Mercer is an offering accessible to Australian’s through their employer as a benefit, superannuation fund or other consumer-orientated organisations to support Australian’s navigating the ageing care system.
With the launch of Care & Living with Mercer we’ve been able to put organisational language around eldercare and have open transparent conversations with colleagues around their experiences and what support they need. For employees who have utilised the roadmap or concierge service to help them navigate the complex aged care system, they’ve expressed immense gratitude that such a benefit exists and the positive impact it’s had on their entire family.
With open storytelling in various forums has helped our colleagues realise they are not unique in their struggles and triumphs in their own caring responsibilities. Here are some comments from a recent Carers Week celebration:
At its core, being Family Friendly certified promotes employee wellbeing – particularly for women who carry the bulk of the caring load. Mercer is firmly committed to our gender equality strategy, and being a family inclusive organisation is a key component of that. We need to make it easy for all colleagues, regardless of gender, to lead productive personal and professional lives and achieve the best balance they can.
We actively choose to build a culture where employees can effectively manage work and family life. We know that when parents and carers are not given the flexibility, they will seek out other employers who will.
Sara Fuller leads Mercer Investments’ Client Delivery Team of 50 investment and actuarial professionals across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, providing consulting services to Australia’s largest superannuation funds and investors.
“My father became terminally ill just before Christmas 2020, and I suddenly found myself with responsibilities I hadn’t considered before. This included what was involved to take on legal carer responsibilities, the challenge of negotiating the hospital and aged care landscape and the emotional toll of caring for an ill parent.
Fortuitously, I had been following the development of Care & Living with Mercer – a website and concierge service we developed to support ageing Australians with their care and senior living needs. We were taking this to market but were also providing it as a benefit directly to Mercer colleagues. Despite the situation with dad, I was so thankful to be one of the first people to use it.
The portal was a useful starting point for someone in my position; it helped me understand the basics of ageing care and provided a personalised roadmap that helped me answer questions I didn’t know I needed to ask! I also had access to the concierge service – having someone to check in on me was a huge comfort, and working with them to better understand accommodation and care options saved me a lot of time, stress and money.
I’ve always appreciated Mercer’s genuine approach to flexible working and ‘family first’ culture. I’ve benefited from #AllRolesCanFlex a lot over the years, so I knew I could rely on my manager and team to support me through this too. I was able to flex my working hours to visit dad in hospital and manage his care, organise all the administrative things, and most importantly, take Dad on a few last road trips.”