IES collaboration recognises employers who offer work-life balance

Newsletter articles

1 Jan 2012

HR Insight Issue 14

Mary Mercer, IES Principal Consultant

Mary MercerThe winners of the Top Employers for Working Families Awards 2011 were announced in September at a ceremony hosted by Citi. The Benchmark and Awards, founded by Working Families in partnership with the Institute for Employment Studies, recognise organisations across the UK that do the most to support the work-life balance needs of all their employees.

Ninety organisations, representing around one million employees, completed a detailed and challenging benchmark survey that examined their flexible working policies and practices. A good mix of private and public sector and large and small employers submitted information. The survey is deliberately designed to paint a picture of the platinum standard in flexible working, and organisations who came close to that are doing very well indeed.

The results clearly demonstrated that employers are showing a growing acceptance that flexible working and work-life integration are vital to an organisation’s effectiveness and business success. Approaches such as advertising all posts as available for flexible working, recognising the particular role of fathers (including support groups for separated fathers and generous fully paid paternity leave), and ensuring flexible workers have access to development and career progression, were just some of the key steps taken by those who won awards IES originally designed the survey with Working Families and every year we support the evaluation, the judging and the recommendations to all organisations who want to better at supporting their flexible workers and achieving a flexible workforce. This year’s recommendations suggested that, for the future, organisations focus on:

  • equality for fathers – too many organisations have focused almost exclusively on the needs of mothers
  • equality in performance management outcomes and career development for flexible workers – flexible workers are still losing out when it comes to training and development and the top outcomes from performance management
  • the role of line managers in flexible working – line managers are patchy in their skill in managing a flexible workforce. Mangers really do need to be more skilled in deciding what type of flexibility is appropriate in their area and in ensuring flexible workers are treated fairly
  • monitoring flexible working impacts – many organisations have flexible working s it is ‘the right thing to do’. They do not really know about the impact on their bottom line or on their staff.

Mary Mercer, IES Principal Consultant, middle, presented this award to Henmans

Mary Mercer, IES Principal Consultant, middle, presented this award to Henmans, as they are actively encouraging the promotion of staff who work flexibly and ensuring these staff get fair performance management reviews, which is something IES has been urging employers to do. this year (who included Centrica, Deutsche Bank and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust).