What makes a great family friendly employer in 2024?
Being a family friendly employer has massive benefits. The pay off doesn’t just include healthier and happier children and parents, it also leads to greater gender equality as well as sustainable growth. Having family friendly policies is linked to better workforce productivity and the ability to attract, motivate and retain employees.
Since Covid, there’s been a shift in people’s behaviours, employers have had to think outside the box, but much has been written about the burden placed on mums when it comes to caring responsibilities. It’s essential that employers are doing more to address this by becoming more family friendly.
So what does it actually mean to be a family friendly employer in 2023?
Parents in the workplace
There will no doubt be parents working in your company. And (we know from experience) they’re constantly juggling work and family, often putting themselves under enormous pressure while also facing stigma in their day-to-day experience.
So it’s important that you’re supporting them, that they feel like valued members of your team, and want to stick around and work hard for you.
Even if you’re yet to have families represented in your workplace, 80% of employees say they’re planning to become a parent, which means you can’t afford to be unprepared.
Why do people care about a company being family friendly?
When applying for job roles, the workforce are much more savvy nowadays. People want to work for organisations that recognise and support their family responsibilities and wellbeing needs. They’re looking for flexibility, supportive environments, a culture that accepts all of their complexity.
By making workplaces more responsive to the needs of families we can help employees manage those juxtaposed pressures and build a better work/family balance. Helping to relieve the pressure on caregivers, encouraging mums’ participation in the workplace and economy, and giving dads a chance to take part in family life, while also boosting productivity and profit.
It’s becoming apparent that resistant employers who are slow to adapt leave themselves exposed to a gap in skilled talent and a workforce that’s disengaged.
So what are the benefits of being a family friendly employer?
Forward thinking companies are looking beyond offering just enhanced parental leave. They are supporting their employees through unique ways and are giving people access to health experts throughout their reproductive journey. They’re getting creative and reaping the rewards.
The benefits of being a family friendly employer are extensive! Firstly, you’ll create a more gender-balanced workplace, and business profits have been shown to increase by over 20% by introducing a more equitable team.
Another benefit is increasing diversity and inclusion. Trust us when we say: your business is losing money by not being gender diverse & inclusive. In fact, according to an MGI report, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.
By being family friendly you’ll improve employee retention. Did you know that £1.6 billion is spent on replacement costs alone each year in the UK? Don’t waste money on replacing staff who you’ve trained up and invested in. 80% of mothers consider not returning after maternity leave, and you can buck that trend if you make some simple changes in policy and workplace culture.
What are the policies we need for a family friendly business in 2024?
It is vital that, as an employer, you take a closer look at how actively engaged you are in supporting your employees with your policies.
You obviously need policies in place for the basic legal requirements, like statutory parental leave, but we’d recommend going above and beyond because a parental leave policy is more than just telling people what they’re entitled to when they leave and return back to work.
For you to be considered a family friendly employer, you should be offering more than the basics. Caring policies must be clearly communicated and opened up in order to meet increasing and diverse carer needs. Policies on return to work transition, innovative communication, well-being, and flexible working – key enablers to embedding a family inclusive workplace culture.
There’s a range of challenges that can prevent parents from delivering their best work and the high cost of child care can result in unnecessary absenteeism. Progressive employers have started to address the diverse needs of the carer workforce by providing childcare contributions, on-site childcare provision and other policies that will alleviate pressure.
Creating a family friendly culture in your workplace
You need a family-friendly culture to sit alongside the policies you create to ensure people take up options that are right for them without the fear of being judged for it. It’s no good having excellent, forward-thinking policies if dads are mocked for leaving to collect a sick child, “can’t your wife do that?”
Let’s encourage dads who are already playing an active role in their children’s lives to talk openly about how they use flexible working to play a more active role at home. This will normalise things for everyone and be excellent role modelling for new parents.
Some employers are offering coaching to ALL parents, not just new mums, supporting men who are about to go through the huge transition of becoming a father, or who are already fathers and want to achieve a better work-family balance.
Become a family friendly employer of choice in 2024
The desire to work for organisations that share one’s own values is more important than ever before. Employees are now looking beyond salary and benefits, to support in their personal lives too. They want to work for people who care about people.
Becoming certified as a family friendly employer will boost your reputation among applicants and competitors alike.