How do you go about a family-friendly policy at your organisation?
In order to arrive at a family-friendly policy, a working environment must be created that allows and encourages such a policy. In other words, a general culture must be embedded in which such a policy is seen as only natural. Many of these things can be found in the classical change management processes, and can be applied to the work-life balance too.
Map out the initial situation.
- Talk to your employees. Informal contact is a treasure trove of information. Or make it a permanent agenda point during an internal consultation, such as a staff meeting where matters around work-life balance can be discussed.
- Seek the advice of the confidant or trade union representatives at your company. Are they often getting reports of problems with work-life balance?
- You can also formally measure what your employees' work-life balance is like. What are their needs? Review the age structure of your workforce, today and in five or ten years' time, and link this to e.g. the number of employees who may be taking on a caring role in their private life.
Build support for new initiatives.
- Be open to new possibilities, gain some inspiration from other companies or take a look at the database of good practices from the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men.
- Sound out proposals with your employees, but also involve your professional network, which can support you with information and advice.
- Be supportive. Give employees the time to adjust to the new arrangements – there will always be some proponents and dissidents. Communicate openly about the reasons why a family-friendly policy is necessary for the organisation.
Inform and communicate in an open corporate culture.
- The possibilities and measures around the work-life balance are highly extensive, so informing yourself of everything out there is certainly not a mere luxury.
- Inform your employees of this too. Often, they have too little awareness of the options that exist as well.
- Make the extra measures out there and those that you are taking as a company clearly visible to every employee.
- Also ensure clear and transparent procedures. Clear agreements will ensure that everything can run more smoothly and efficiently.
Dare to evaluate and adjust.
- Have you started up a new initiative? Great! Be sure to check it is producing the desired results: Is it being used or, if not, why not? Can you see an improvement in your employees' work-life balance?
- Not everything will succeed at your organisation. Have the faith to communicate this to your employees and decide to abolish or adjust the initiative.
- Can you see an improvement? Perfect! Time to embed the initiative in your company's policy.