What makes a family friendly workplace? Parental leave is obviously a very hot topic – and has been for some years now. And rightly so, there is a lot lacking in the value we place on parents, their responsibilities and what they add to the workforce.
“In fact, rearing children is some of the most essential and productive work done in our economy. Few occupations have as much impact on or greater returns for our future as parenting.” Andie Fox
Some companies have understood the value of retention and family life and have established exceptional conditions for expectant and existing families.
Let’s be clear, they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.
What these progressive companies have realised is that by aligning family and work values, they are fostering positive and long term employee relations – employee loyalty and retention and productivity. And what they have also realised is that it makes them highly attractive to external candidates as well.
People value being looked after, and want to know that whatever their life stage the company they work for will be supportive. And generally, employees reward their companies’ right back.
“Most turnover isn’t productive, and many organisations face this mass exodus of working mothers and even fathers. As employers, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to lose talent just because we aren’t having conversations with employees about the best way to align work and family and making the often small adjustments that will keep them around.” Allison O’Kelly, Founder and CEO, Mom Corps
Navigating parenthood is complicated. It affects every aspect of your life from pre-conception, through pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Given that most professionals in fast paced, large industries spend most of their waking hours at work the two are inextricably linked.
Four simple things a workplace can offer for support:
- Pregnancy in some workplaces can be a taboo subject with people concerned about saying the wrong thing or being inappropriate. Rather than shying away from it, have a pregnancy pack ready to go for expectant parents.
- Providing a flexible working environment allows for people to maintain their productivity, reduces unnecessary stress and continue in the workforce for as long as possible. Allowing people to work from home, or work irregular hours in the office can help balance some of the potential physical challenges of pregnancy. Set clear boundaries and expectations and outline opportunities to bend a rigid work week.
- Returning to work can be daunting, particularly for those that have been out of the workplace for a year or more. Having a discussion and creating a plan around staying in touch during maternity leave as well as a returning to work can help foster positivity and ease any tension.
- Assist with childcare in any number of ways including something simple like setting up a preferred partner relationship with facilities in the area around your workplace or with a larger network that has multiple centres.
Intrigued about what the most progressive global workplaces offer their employees?
“Google jobs are some of the most sought after positions in the entire tech industry. Employees who work for the search giant don’t have to worry about much besides their work. Google says, “the array of benefits of perks aim to ensure that Googlers remain happy and healthy in all aspects of their lives.” Kevin Smith
- Parent leave bonus & return to work bonus.
- Parental leave – extra paid time off in addition to the government allowance.
- Shopping and/or house cleaning vouchers – to assist with nappy and feeding costs.
- Parking space near the door for pregnant workers.
- Private concierge service.
- Healthy cooking lessons.
- Subsidised or preferred partner deals for healthy home meal options.
- After school programs for under 12 year-olds.
- Lactation rooms for nursing mothers.
- Preferred partner deals with, for example, nanny services and physical therapy.
- Telecommuting technologies to create home offices.
- Flexible work arrangements e.g. start/end times, work sharing.
- Dry cleaning / washing services with at work pick up and drop off.
- Paid time off for school related absences.
- Support services: e.g. professional development, mentoring and training (live, web based or video), healthy living e.g. stress management, weight loss, fitness open for all including those on parental leave.
Do you have a family friendly workplace? How does your workplace help you? Feel free to share in the comments below.