HR Exclusive: Why State Street is investing heavily in its caregivers

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Servicing nearly 10% of the world’s assets, State Street is one of the preeminent names in the financial industry. At the heart of the organization’s success, however, is its most important asset – its 42,000+ global employees, nearly half of whom are women. Recognizing the valuable role its people play in the continued evolution of State Street, the financial services provider offers myriad benefits to support its diverse and dispersed team, both in work and in life. Cindy Silva, State Street’s Global Head of Benefits, recently sat down with us for a deep dive into how the company is keeping caregivers engaged and removing obstacles to enable career growth.

What are some trends you’ve seen and programs you’ve implemented to support working caregivers? What have the results been?

The biggest trend we noticed is a rise in the breadth of care needs from our employees. We have an extremely diverse and dispersed workforce and want to be sure that every employee feels supported when something unexpected happens to interrupt their usual care coverage. We all know and have seen that caregivers have been under more pressure than ever – especially these past few years. Our center-based back-up care program offers 30 days of annual coverage to each employee for their children or elderly dependents. 

The benefit has been extremely well-received and is a valuable tool for ensuring both peace of mind and productivity. Parents with school-age children especially find it helpful to provide coverage during school vacations or unexpected closures. Three of our locations offer on-site camps during February and April break to cover parents during the week off school.

In 2023, we saved 11,708 workdays that our employees would have otherwise missed because of caregiving obligations. Already in 2024, we’ve seen an increase in in-network use, so the benefit is growing rapidly in popularity. We’ve also been listed on the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for six years, thanks in part to these efforts to support our working parents, especially our moms.

Wellbeing is such a prominent topic in any discussion of employee benefits. How is State Street prioritizing wellness, especially for working caregivers?

For us, it all comes down to making employees’ lives easier in any way possible. And that means having solutions in place to deal with some of the challenges our people may face outside of the workplace. For instance, we strongly emphasize flexibility, especially for our working caregivers. To help employees better meet the challenges of balancing work responsibilities with family and personal demands, we offer a range of flexible work options. Depending on your location, you may be able to take advantage of remote location work, compressed schedules or even job sharing.

We also take a very holistic approach to wellness, starting with our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This program provides personal and confidential assistance for a broad range of issues including marital, legal or health problems, among others. It’s a great mental health resource and is especially valued by caregivers who may be feeling overwhelmed trying to balance professional and personal obligations. In terms of financial wellness, we provide resources and host local events to educate employees on achieving financial well-being. We help them manage their budgets while still saving for retirement and the future. And of course, our caregiving programs, including our working parents and families employee network, go a long way to ensure caregiver wellbeing by keeping employees present and engaged at work, knowing their loved ones are being looked after.

Do you offer any education assistance or professional development opportunities to your employees?

Education and upskilling are two huge pillars of our culture at State Street and we try to facilitate both as much as we can. We offer targeted learning opportunities that meet each employee’s personal skill and career development needs, provided by a combination of internal learning professionals, subject matter experts, and industry-leading external content providers. Whether you’re looking to expand your technical skills, grow your business knowledge, or grow as a leader, we offer everything from online courses to videos to instructor-led training to support those efforts. Job shadowing, job rotation, development programs and coaching/mentoring opportunities also give our employees the opportunity to grow into higher roles and move up within the organization.

A main reason we want to support our caregivers is because we know how hard it can be to focus on career advancement when you’re already juggling so much in your personal and professional life. For caregivers in particular, the cost and time commitment of achieving a degree can be unmanageable. We view educational support as a great way to attract and retain that demographic and show them that we are looking out for them and have their needs in mind. Helping our employees grow through certifications and degree programs is something we pride ourselves on as a company, but also something that our employees really press for and appreciate

As you look towards the next five to ten years, how do you see your benefits strategy evolving, specifically as it pertains to working caregivers?

If an employee comes to us with a unique need, we want to be able to support them, even if it’s not a ubiquitous challenge. We want to drill down even further to specific employee demographics and offer them support that they can’t get at any other company. Even if it’s two people out of forty thousand, we want to make sure they feel welcomed and supported at State Street. In that vein, one of our biggest points of emphasis is creating a culture that is extremely supportive of women and working mothers. We’re looking for opportunities to support women's health at various stages of life – whether it’s fertility and IVF assistance, menopause support, or supporting breastfeeding mothers, both in the office and while they’re traveling for work. Ultimately, we want to unpack the benefits backpack and hear what our people want and need from State Street. That’s really the future of our benefits strategy – being able to offer something to everybody no matter what stage of life they’re in.

Thank you so much to Cindy for taking the time to speak with us!

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
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