While it would certainly make life easier if the only thing your employees had to worry about was their job responsibilities, that’s rarely the case. Team members have hobbies, friends, and perhaps most importantly, families to think of, too. Accordingly, it’s never too early to start implementing some family-friendly workplace policies.
Caregivers, whether parents or those supporting older relatives, bring a unique set of skills to the table. They’re great problem solvers, negotiators, and communicators.
However, family commitments can make it harder for these individuals to find a job. They’re often not offered the flexibility they need to succeed at work.
So, if you’d like to make your organization more welcoming to this rich talent pool, here are some tips for implementing more family-friendly workplace policies:
How to create more family-friendly workplace policies
Ask your employees what they want
The scope of a team member’s caregiving role will influence what they need, and can provide, at work. The best way to find out what those needs are is to ask your employees.
You could create a survey, do a focus group, or even ask in Slack or on Workrowd.
The more places you ask, the more information you can get. Of course, as a result, the better your future family-friendly workplace policies will be.
Research what others are doing
You do research to find out what your competitors are doing and what the key to their success is. So, why not do the same for family-friendly workplace policies?
You need to know what others are doing—and if it’s working. That way, you can streamline your own processes and avoid the pitfalls others have faced.
Bring in a consulting firm
Another way to streamline creating family-friendly workplace policies is to bring in a company that specializes in helping businesses implement effective practices.
This is more expensive than doing the research yourself, so it may not be suitable for a smaller company. That said, it can save larger companies a lot of time and effort that they could use on other things.
Trust your employees
Creating more inclusive and family-friendly workplace policies requires trusting your employees to do their jobs.
Since everyone works in different ways, the more rigid company rules are, the less likely you are to find someone who’s compatible with that way of working. And the less likely you are to benefit from increased company diversity.
To implement things like flexible working or remote working, you need to trust your employees.
You need to trust them to not let you down, to perform at their best, and to be upfront and honest with you.
For that to happen you need a culture where employees feel trusted and where they trust you.
Trust and respect work both ways. If employees have even the slightest whiff of something being off, or feel like they’ll get judged for something, then they’re not going to be as open with you or their colleagues and it will negatively impact your company culture.
Ways to make your workplace more family friendly
Implement flexible working…yesterday
There’s no better way to say you’re a family-friendly company than with a flexible working policy.
It tells caregivers that you don’t mind if they need to come in later or leave earlier because of caring responsibilities. So long as they get the work done, that’s what matters.
Trust your employees to work remotely
Do you allow employees to work remotely?
Flexible work is one thing. Allowing employees to work at home, or where they’re most productive that isn’t the office, can make a huge difference to how inclusive your workplace is—and how much money you lose to your employees’ childcare and other responsibilities.
Remote work allows caregivers more time to spend with their children or relatives. Being able to work from home means they’re not losing an hour or more each day to their commute.
They can use their lunch break for quality time with family members when they’re home. Or, even for a little bit of much-needed time to themselves.
Update your parental leave policy
Does your parental leave policy only cover new mothers? Or does it cover new fathers, too? What about trans or non-binary individuals?
Your parental leave policy should be inclusive and not make assumptions about who will return to work first. It should also consider parents’ needs as well as legal requirements.
Consider, too, your policies for parents of newly adopted children. What do they need? How can you help them?
Offer family healthcare
When employees know that their family’s healthcare is covered as well as their own, it can make things a lot less stressful if someone gets sick or even just needs a new pair of glasses.
Family healthcare is a simple way to show employees that you don’t just view them as someone who produces for your company, but you value them and their family’s long-term health as well.
Provide family medical leave
Sometimes someone gets sick and it’s not possible to work remotely and care for them at the same time.
Offering some sort of family medical leave, where people can look after their relative without worrying about work, or using up their paid time off, gives them the head space they need to help their relative.
Childcare can get expensive really fast.
I live and work in the UK. Some of our friends struggle to work even though they want to because childcare is just so expensive.
If you can subsidize employees’ childcare costs, so that their child can enjoy educational and fun activities while they’re at work, or when they need a break, it helps your employees focus, and it benefits the next generation.
Family-friendly workplace policies make your business more inclusive. This attracts a wider range of candidates and means you get to benefit from the unique assets caregivers can bring to your business.
Being family-friendly could even be a differentiator for your business that you use to grow your employer brand and customer base.
If you’re ready to better support parents and other caregivers with more family-friendly workplace policies, having a central hub for employee info is a great place to start. With Workrowd, it’s easy to ensure employees always have the information they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families.
Plus, the platform offers an easy way to manage and measure employee resource groups for parents and caregivers and other effective support initiatives. Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.