Want to find out if your company is truly a "family-friendly" firm? Many firms believe they are offering "family-friendly" human resource policies, but in fact workers feel such policies fall short of what they truly need. Based on our extensive research, this audit focuses on the programs and policies employees really want and need. If you would like to rate your company's policies and encourage innovation in this area, score your firm on these fifteen questions and see how your company stacks up.
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Answers: If you have checked 10 or more yes responses, then your company is truly a family-friendly firm. If you checked between 5 - 10 yes responses, then your company is building strengths as a family-friendly firm. If your company has less than 5 yes responses, then your company needs to improve its score by utilizing true family-flexible benefits. Talk with your Human Resource Director about the possibilities, and consider forming an employee group to take action. You may be surprised at the response from top management. Sometimes it takes the power of a small coalition to create innovative changes for the greater good.
Five Steps For Putting the Kaleidoscope Career Model into Action
- Create a vision based on the fundamental principle that workers want authenticity, challenge and balance in their lives.
- Build commitment to the vision at all levels, especially with the help of change champions who not only talk about integrating the ABCs of the KCM throughout all organizational systems but also walk the talk in their own lives.
- Take action to turn the vision into reality, because vision without action, without successful implementation, kills employee hope.
- Continuously support the vision and its implementation by committing adequate resources to training, development, incentives, equipment and the like. Ensure that not only is performance equitably rewarded but that benefits are equitable and employees who need the most assistance, but may be the least able to afford it, receive more benefits.
- Measure attitudes, behaviors and other outcomes and based on the data obtained, make changes—big and small--to keep pace with, and even anticipate, organizational and environmental changes.
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Ideas to Support Authenticity
- Paid corporate sabbaticals for 3 to 6 months to pursue education, personal development, or community service activities
- Corporate wellness programs, focusing on health and the whole person
- Workshops on spirituality and finding a higher purpose in life and work
- Provide centralized corporate gyms and recreation centers so employees can support their health while on-site
- Offer coaching services to assist employees with career and life planning
- Offer workshops that address hot button issues, such as learning how to become more assertive, or negotiating well
- Consider maintaining an employee leisure interest time bank of free hours
- Employee clubs for interests, such as golf, tennis, chess, crafts, dance activities
- Recognizing skills and knowledge gained during personal leaves, career interruptions, and nonwork activities including community service, in job placement decisions
- Establish corporate social responsibility programs, such as opportunities to engage in Habitat for Humanity or walk-a-thons for charity
- Provide workers and customers with information on the company website on what the firm is doing to be socially responsible and how individuals can contribute to these efforts
- Make corporate social responsibility part of the firm’s mission statement, strategy, and culture with top managers demonstrating ethical behavior
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- Opt- out career interruptions for 1 or 2 years; Stop-out career interruptions for 2 to 10 years
- Reduced hour careers, job sharing, active part time job listings, and managerial training on the effective use of flexible scheduling
- Job banks that give potential “boomerangs” (i.e., former employees) first priority of consideration over external candidates
- Training programs that permit for re-acclimation to the workforce
- Provide "tech for flex" programs so workers can work from home
- Time bank of paid parenting and eldercare leave
- Restructured retirement plans; making use of phased retirement and work after retirement options such as part-time work, consulting and mentoring
- Healthcare and other benefits for part time workers of long standing
- Onsite daycare, after-school programs, and Saturday and summer camps for employees’ children
- Benefits that encourage long term retention, such as college tuition reimbursement benefits for employees and their children
- Reward and promote individuals who effectively use flexible schedules or are “balanced life” role models for others
- Redefine family beyond children and provide programs that support care-giving
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Ideas to Support Challenge
- Redesign work so employees at all levels are empowered to do more meaningful tasks and make more decisions
- Outsource or mechanize menial work
- Create opportunities for early field or international experiences
- Develop skill-based mentoring and networking programs
- Create on-the-job learning assignments with time for reflecting upon knowledge and skills gained
- Job rotation to increase early skill development across departments
- Create a culture that encourages lateral moves for learning and skill development
- Make top level managers accountable for turnover and advancements rates for women
- Monitor number of women in executive, pipeline, and profit and loss positions as well as gender inequities in pay and benefits
- Provide career succession plans that include time off for career interruptions without penalty
- Create reward systems based on outcomes and actual performance, not face time
- Offer training, technical support, and equipment to enable employees to creatively use technology to enhance their authenticity, challenge and balance
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