Over the last decade, we have seen the highest number of working families since records began. Whether we’re a major employer or a small business, supporting today’s modern families is an important leadership challenge facing all organisations across the UK.
But what approach do we take?
The dynamics of modern families has naturally changed and will continue to change over the years. In 2015, there are many different constructs of families that exist, including blended families, lone-parent families and families that are geographically dispersed either in this country or abroad. Our population is ageing too and many are now part of the ‘sandwich generation’ – those employees who are raising children and caring for older relatives, while also trying to manage their workload and meet targets. Often, they are caring for both child and adult dependants that might not live close too.
With such changes and a rich variety of family constructs and responsibilities, the key to solving the challenge is simple and it’s all about our organisations.
Whatever our size and scale, supporting today’s modern families is about engaging, listening and figuring out in our own context and relative to the purpose of our organisations, what our employees need.
Workplace cultures that truly understand modern families and caring responsibilities, coupled with supportive policies and benefits, will see positive returns for their organisation. They are likely to run more smoothly with greater stability if the caring responsibilities, constructs of family life and work-life balance of our employees are understood and respected. We are able to align what we’re trying to achieve in organisational terms and how we can link that to what our workforce needs in the future.
As organisations, we must challenge ourselves to be in-tune and to listen. Businesses that work with the grain of family life represent not just the families of today, but tomorrow too.