How to ensure your company is a family friendly employer

More and more companies are embracing family friendliness and realising it’s a huge driver in terms of engaging employees and keeping them from taking on jobs elsewhere. But not every firm is doing enough to make sure their human resource strategy is inclusive for parents who may be struggling with their work-life balance.

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So what can your business do to make it is as supportive of families as possible?

Be flexible

While many human resourcing managers prefer full-time staff who work on a regular basis, it could be beneficial to open up part-time positions for parents. There are undoubtedly advantages to doing this – most notably allowing mums and dads that want to spend more time with their kids the opportunity to stay in work.

Heather McGregor runs her own executive recruitment firm and wrote in the Guardian: “At different times in their lives, people have ambitions to build their human capital.

“I have agreed to flexible working for employees studying everything from a professional qualification in psychoanalysis to a masters in international relations and even a flower-arranging course.”

While implementing a flexible working system is an undeniably tough endeavour for anyone arranging shift patterns, it is sure to provide a massive boost to your company’s retention.

“I have learned it is the grease that oils the wheels of our business. But the future will include working from home by almost everyone, even if they have to build the foundation of their ability to do so in the office,” Ms McGregor added.

Childcare vouchers

Offering your workers the ability to utilise the services of childcare voucher providers such as You at Work could make their lives a whole lot easier – all while potentially saving them hundreds of pounds a year.

Many parents struggle with the costs of putting their little ones in nurseries during the working day and this could eventually make them think remaining at home is a more attractive economic decision than staying in the office. This can be combated if businesses offer their staff the ability to make tax-free savings by claiming the tokens through a salary sacrifice scheme.

Understanding maternity

Bringing a child into the world is one of the most rewarding things a family can do, but many employers are bothered by the fact many working women take maternity leave for up to 12 months at a time.

Not only does this create problems for workers who are planning to give birth, but it will also make some staff feel the company they work for is not family friendly. According to a recent survey by QualitySolicitors, 60 per cent of females in the south-east of England would like their firm to be more transparent about maternity leave.

Jonathan Haines, an employment lawyer at QualitySolicitors, said: “Despite strong legal regulation to assist the employer and employee, a culture of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been allowed to develop.”

Provide free fruit

This is a bit of an odd one, but at low costs, employers can give their expecting workers free fruit. This is a great way to show you care about the wellbeing and health of both them and their unborn child and is increasingly popular among businesses wishing to cut their absenteeism rates.

While the fruit can be sourced by your own procurement staff, it will probably be much easier to outsource this function to a dedicated provider.