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How to Foster a Family-Friendly Small Business

Large companies like Google, SAS and Facebook have made an impact with their bold and innovative family-friendly policies. They are also seeing improved retention, engagement and satisfaction as a result of their ability to offer such benefits to employees.

Your small business can reap these rewards as well. You may never have the benefits buying power of Amazon, but there are lots of cost-efficient ways to be a more family-friendly place to work.

Rethink family

Family-friendly policies tend to center on parents and benefit younger women. These are an important part of systematic changes necessary to decrease the motherhood wage gap. But all employees can benefit from family-friendly practices, as well as parenting teammates who are more engaged and happier in their jobs.

It is also important to remember that families come in all shapes and sizes. Family does not always involve the care of children. This is especially true as the workforce ages and more workers are called on to care for their aging parents or partners. Consider expanding options—such as time off for a new child or flexibility—to grandparents or other caregivers.

Flexible work time and locations

If there is one thing we have learned from the Covid-19 crisis, it is that where and when we work can be flexible for many employees. Offering the option to work remotely or flex their hours can be a boon to employees and your bottom line.

All employees can benefit from the flexibility, focus and functionality of working from home. Staff with families are also available for school-aged children, have more time to spend with family instead of commute, and have the flexibility for childcare emergencies. As an employer, you also benefit from increased productivity, lower turnover and even a broader recruiting base.

Treat your staff like family

Your employees spend a significant portion of their waking hours with you and your business. For many, that is more time than they spend with their families. Respect that commitment by promoting decent working conditions. Wages, whenever possible, should reflect the cost of living. And, policies should protect employees when a client or customer mistreats your employee or puts them in danger (this applies to COVID safety protocols, too).

In addition, make it possible for your team members to take care of themselves. Start with a genuine emphasis on work-life balance. When choosing benefits, offer an Employee Assistance Plan and (if possible) insurance or an insurance stipend. Finally, consider paid leave and even paid paternal leave so loyal employees do not have to choose between caring for their family and coming in ill or losing pay.

Especially now, family-friendly workplaces are important selling points for workers. Practices like these and others are a great way to get ahead of the curve and position yourself as a company that sees employees as more than a name on a badge.