Families are complex, diverse and dynamic. Yet, according to our research, many workers find that employment practices are often critically out of step with the realities of their family lives.
Neuroscience tells us that healthy and dependable relationships in early life wire our brains for positive health and wellbeing outcomes throughout our lives. They are as vital to our health as sleeping, diet and exercise. Families matter.
Employers have a crucial role to play in supporting families. Providing employees with the support they need to create and sustain thriving families is in everyone’s interests - employees, their families, employers and society as a whole.
At Fastn, we help employers understand how they can play their part.
According to neuroscience, healthy, dependable relationships are critical to all of us. They help us develop resilience and improve performance. And when workers have healthy family relationships, they are more resilient and effective at work.
Stress, financial uncertainty, unrealistic expectations and unsupportive practices in the workplace all undermine family relationships. And when employees have to manage significant tensions between their home lives and unrealistic work expectations, this negatively impacts their work.
Despite best intentions, employment practices often fail to recognise family realities of employees. These may include the experiences of single parent families, blended families, LGBTQ+ families, and families with long-term sickness or other less visible commitments and responsibilities. If employers don't consider family realities, practices, organisational culture and policies miss the mark, with significant and far-reaching consequences for everyone.
To Fastn, family is a core sustainability issue (see the UN Brundtland Commission's definition of sustainability). By supporting families to thrive, organisations help workers, family members and future generations to:
It’s time for employers to recognise and respond to the reality of family lives and commit to helping families thrive over the long term.
The pandemic has given workers the opportunity to reconsider their priorities. According to a Censuswide poll in 2020, 70% of employees said that a future employer’s track record on supporting families to thrive would be a significant factor in their employment choices.
Thoughtful family-friendly employment practices and organisations that recognise the diversity and dynamism of families attract and retain talent. Without commitment to all employees and their families - whatever the employee’s circumstances, seniority or contract - organisations risk the life outcomes of employees and their families for generations to come .
Senior leaders must make a commitment to supporting thriving families in all parts of the business. This means amongst employees, in supply chains, and in the communities where they operate.
Successful leaders will:
Take a look at our White Paper Good for business: good for families, consider what it means for your organisation and take action:
If you’d like to be at the forefront of organisational development or corporate citizenship in this vital area, please get in touch.