Family friendliness: success factor for companies?

A child is the career killer par excellence - the thought has become established in the minds of many workers. Unfortunately, many employees are still faced with the decision - family or career ? For about 15 years the federal government and the companies have been looking together for solutions to this problem and a lot has changed. Family-friendliness is a corporate strategy for many employers today - but it's not always what's on it ...

Family friendliness: success factor for companies?

Table of Contents: That's what you'll find in this article

Family friendliness: differences in perception
Family friendliness: advantages for companies
Family friendliness: requirements
Family friendliness: what is it?
Family friendliness: communication is important
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Family friendliness: differences in perception
The criterion of family friendliness is celebrated today as a miracle weapon for securing and recruiting skilled workers. According to a survey special evaluation of the enterprise monitor family friendliness 2013 ( PDF ), which was commissioned before the federal government, these measures and offers improve only slightly the working life of the employees. Roughly 70 percent of respondents consider reconciliation of work and family life as not good , 65 percent of fathers and 75 percent of mothers - and this, even though legal steps and changes in corporate cultures have already been made.

Family friendliness: advantages for companies
Many small, medium and large enterprises live family friendliness. With these measures, they secure a primary place in the competition for new skilled workers and establish a healthy working atmosphere. Here are some advantages at a glance:

Staff turnover and know-how churn remains low.
Loyalty to the company is growing.
costs for employer branding are falling.
Competitiveness in the labor market is increasing.
The positive working environment and job satisfaction are increasing.
Family friendliness: requirements
To make family-friendliness possible in a company, not only the bosses and the team leaders are in demand, but also the colleagues . Everyone involved should show some kindness - parents also have to assure that they will get involved as well as possible. The employer should be ready to find a suitable solution . The following points show the most important prerequisites for practiced family friendliness - if they are not given, even the best strategies will not benefit.

Employers and even colleagues should trust the employee concerned that despite the reduced hours of work, he is still diligent and conscientious worked, especially when using the home office option.

Qualitative and non-quantitative requirements allow the parent to define their own daily work routine and to design it so that the boss is satisfied with the results. For example, a mother can postpone her work to emergency situations for the next few days or weeks, without falling into disfavor, but then she should also spend the missing hours conscientiously.

Although hardly anyone thinks about it - own colleagues are the ones who feel family friendliness first: As a mother, her colleague has to finish work on time to pick up the child from kindergarten, or she has to stay home when the child is ill. Then it is the colleagues whose support is required: they have to step in, take on unfinished business on their own shoulders or, in the case of absences of several days, make representation. Their understanding of the situation is one of the most important prerequisites for a family hostile corporate culture.

If the supervisor is inflexible and not committing to compromise, then no family friendliness in the company will bear fruit . Is he on the daily working hours, he exhorts the parents because of missed hours or punished by his behavior , there is no trust between him and the employee and parents have to fear career loss.

The flexible working environment of a family hostile strategy should set out general steps. For many parents, however, an individual approach is also needed, for example for special changes in the family environment. Flexitime or flexible working hours should be adapted to the respective parent.

Employers should be clear: Leisure is really leisure time . If the employee has done his job and leaves work, then he does not have to be reachable anymore. The time for the family should be free of work - if parents do not pick up the phone in the evening, when the boss calls, he must be able to rely on the urgent problem being dealt with the next business day. Even the parents have to take their time off - the work does not go away and Chef's messages can also be heard in the evenings when the children are sleeping.

Communicating clearly with the boss and colleagues avoids problems and misunderstandings - clearly defining the working hours, when he is in the office or working in the home office , when he is approachable or when he can do the urgent work. Clarification of the deadlines and clear changes in the job description rule out mistakes and help all involved.

There are many professions where it is difficult or impossible to work productively and well part-time. A job with a lot of travel or work hours is less family friendly. Office jobs or work in the home office are more appropriate - the design of working hours is flexible and no unforeseen appointments have to be kept.

working hours
The employer should be able to estimate realistically how many hours the employee needs for the amount of work - if he leaves the employee on a part-time basis , but expects him to do the same work, then it ends up in frustration on both sides .

social network
This does not mean the professional social network , but the contact with friends and mothers of children in childcare. Not everyone has grandparents at their side who can take the child in the afternoon. It makes sense, then, to make an agreement with other mothers - today one mom picks up the children, tomorrow the other.

You see, the necessary conditions should be present in the social environment of the parents - with the colleagues, with the boss and in private life. If some of the above prerequisites are not met, even the best family-friendly strategy will not bring relief to the parents at work.

Family friendliness: what is it?
In a family hostile company, especially the human resources and corporate strategy are in demand. Many companies are trying to increase their job satisfaction, to positively influence the working atmosphere and to integrate them into the organizational structure - also to improve employer branding. Family-friendliness is an important criterion for young professionals , according to a study ( PDF ) by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth .

Management and executives must stand behind the family-friendly strategy , they should above all act as a role model - to go on parental leave or offered in -house care services . If family-friendly measures are applied but not lived, then even with the best will they will not work. Only then will the employees not take advantage of these offers because they expect losses in their own careers. The following points make a family-friendly company:

team building
Tasks are organized in teams or groups of full-time and part-time workers, as appropriate, so some team members stay up to date and can bring part-time staff up to date.

Exit and re-entry
Mothering time, parental leave, representation and preparation for re-entry are well thought out and laid down .

Counseling sessions on opportunities and risks during parental leave and thereafter are held. During the care period, the company offers continuing education opportunities to parents to keep their qualifications up to the highest level.

working hours
The working hours are flexible. For this, suitable models , such as part-time , time off means time account, a working time and teleworking very good - depending on the profession they are customized.

care, support
Close-to-home and support services make it easier for many employees to take care of their employees during working hours, such as in-house U2 care and support during school holidays or extending office hours .

working atmosphere
Days off in the event of illness of the child must not have an effect on the working atmosphere. In Germany, there is a right to be released from sickness of a child .

Child bonuses as working hour credits for parents or additional holidays per child are also part of the family friendly strategy. Even unpaid special leave of up to 20 days offer many companies.

All these measures can not be taken by the employees if they lack the information. So companies set up a great family-friendly strategy, get even the coveted seal as the family-friendly company , only the offers and assistance are not used.

Family friendliness: communication is important
If there are corporate communications flaws, there is no intranet or operational memos, workers are not notified of the changes and internal offers - remains a strategy in which many resources and capital have been invested, without any positive impact. According to a survey ( PDF ), about 63 percent of employers know of extensive family-friendly offers in their own company, but only 27 percent of employees .

The cause: Changes and information do not reach the employees, because the corporate communication is done on the side. In a small and medium-sized business, these measures should be disclosed personally , even at the first conversation about parental leave. A large company with a public relations department should explicitly use the internal communication channels to point to new and extensive family-friendly offerings. Besides, the PR department is in demand for employer branding: Family-friendliness has to be widely communicated, for example in job descriptions, at trade fairs or at the open house.

Family-friendliness must be lived in such a way that affected employees do not have to fear a kink in the career. It is a criterion that has been identified as a problem and that is being actively resolved. Corporate strategies for better reconciliation of work and family life should not only be created, but openly communicated with employees and in the labor market . Only on the basis of support and trust, they are implemented and offer parents the prerequisite for a fulfilling professional and family life.

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