What is a family-friendly workplace?
One whose policies and procedures make it possible for employees to more easily balance family, work and other obligations.
Why is having a family-friendly workplace important?
Research shows that organizations that adopt certain types of policies, such as flexible schedules and/or parental leave, report higher levels of employee engagement, productivity and retention. And, since nearly 92 percent of families with children have at least one working parent, having a known family-friendly employer brand helps a company appeal to a large demographic.
How can my company be more family-friendly?
For many companies, working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is a thing of the past. For businesses and organizations to engage and retain their employees, they must adapt their policies and procedures to better support employees’ busy, modern lives. There are many ways in which to consider becoming a more family-friendly workplace including offering:
- Flexible working hours
- Job sharing
- Employee and family health benefits (flexible spending plans, HSAs, dependent care)
- Telecommuting and/or hybrid work schedules
- The inclusion of employee feedback into continuous improvement efforts
- Paid parental leave
- Breastfeeding support
- On-site childcare or caregiving referrals and support
- Tuition reimbursement
- An employee assistance program
- On-site education sessions about parenting, work-life balance and stress management
Given NEFHSC’s focus, can you provide some examples of how a company can better support breastfeeding mothers?
Organizations looking to improve their workplaces in this regard should consider the following:
- Does the company have a breastfeeding support policy in place (i.e., is it part of employee handbook, benefits guide, etc?)
- Do nursing mothers have access to a private lactation room with a chair, small table, electrical outlet, and refrigerator/ cooler?
- Are flexible breaks to express milk or nurse a child available?
- Does the company offer referrals for lactation support?
How does an organization start the process of becoming more family-friendly?
Developing and implementing family-friendly policies involves more than just doing something one way instead of how it’s always been done. Careful consideration must be given to determine which issue(s) the company addresses first, recognizing change takes time. If the company conducts employee satisfaction or engagement surveys, the issue(s) that should be addressed is probably evident in the survey results.
NEFHSC encourages employers to consider those issues that, if modified, would have the greatest benefit for the majority of their workforce. Other considerations include:
- Best practice approaches for like-employers
- Needs/issues particular to the workforce
- Federal, state and local laws and requirements
- Potential costs and funding sources to implement different approaches