HR 1 June 2017

Why a family-friendly working environment is crucial to staff retention

busylizzy baby music
Childcare policies could prove vital to retaining staff

All workers are likely to have different HR priorities. Here, founder of InsurewithMax.com and the creator of ChildMax, an insurance product for working parents, Max Robinson, tells company owners how best to support each generation in your workforce.

Recruitment is more competitive than ever, with top talent regularly headhunted. Organisations not only need to secure the best recruits, but also they need to keep them. Poor salary and benefits is one of the leading reasons for high employee turnover, but just offering good pay is not enough.

Research has found that millennials look for much more than decent pay in their careers. Some 68 per cent of graduates identified opportunities for growth and development as a priority, while a mere 15 per cent said that they wanted to secure a high-paying career.

Retaining top talent is about giving employees a workplace that they feel comfortable with and that supports their career needs. This translates into looking after employees with families, and letting them know they are taken care of.

Each generation of the workforce is likely to have a different focus or priority, so it is worth giving some thought to how best to support each group.

Generation Z

This group are setting out into the working world, or approaching it, and much of their current work experience is about exploring the dynamics of different workplaces. They will decide upon the sort of workplace required to grow careers and what type of benefits are needed.

They will analyse the treatment of older colleagues, and see how family life and other circumstances are dealt with by managers. They will want to see that a company offers things like flexible working, job-sharing and generous maternity and paternity leave before settling down and committing themselves.

Millennials

The millennial generation – Generation Y – is a prime working group, focused on lifestyles that are understood and supported by their employers.

Statistics have shown that 43 per cent of women end up having to leave their jobs once they start families, because a professional working life becomes harder to sustain once it is combined with parental responsibilities.

Millennials look to establish themselves in companies that will minimise the likelihood of prioritising home life over work life, so it is important to have plenty of supportive measures in place and make it known that your company supports family-friendly working.

Generation X

This generation form the proof of successful HR policies, as they are most likely to have older children and need flexibility in their family-friendly working conditions. To get the best balance in their home and work lives, they may well rely on flexitime, job-sharing and family-specific benefits. With far more women than men quitting work to take care of parental responsibilities, it is particularly important to make all employees feel valued, with the same supportive opportunities.

Baby boomers

The idea that only parents with young children need support via family-friendly working has prevailed for many years. However, employers are now acknowledging alternative family commitments faced by this older group of workers.

Ageing parents with medical needs, the cost of elder care and the care of grandchildren are just a handful of the family situations faced by the baby boomer generation. Their needs may involve flexi-time or cutting hours to part-time, and perhaps remote working arrangements, which need to be supported to ensure productive employees.

Providing the correct resources needed for a family-friendly working environment across a multi-generational workforce is key to a thriving organisation. Relying on outdated conventions will have a negative domino effect through the different generations in the workforce.

Ultimately, a suite of family-friendly working policies is the key to creating happy and productive employees who know that they are taken care of.

Max Robinson is the founder of InsurewithMax.com and the creator of ChildMax. He has been working in the insurance sector for over 30 years.

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