Top Employers for Working Families: Special Awards 2016
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Welcome to the 2016 Top Employers for Working Families Awards case studies. The awards celebrate those employers who are committed to our mission of changing the way we live and work. Showcased here are the organisations who made it through as finalists, and who caught the eye of the judges with their flexible and family-friendly working policies, innovations and practices.
The standard of entries this year was very high, and in some categories competition was fierce: the line of good practice is moving ever-upwards and organisations are really striving to create policies that differentiate them from their peers. This is all-important when competing for top talent, of course, but the judges were pleased to note that many entrants were explicit about their commitment to make their policies available to all employees, not just a chosen, highly valued few. It is this kind of thinking that will deliver the crucial culture change we want to see in the UK’s workplaces.
Cultural change will only become established and embedded where opportunities for flexibility are equally distributed: restricting it to certain groups, either explicitly through policy, or implicitly through practice, will ensure barriers remain in place. Encouragingly, many of our finalists are really getting to grips with this challenge, and the case studies show a renewed focus on manager training and organisation-wide communications that are such crucial elements of creating a truly flexible workplace.
What trends can we see in 2016? Firstly, metrics and measurements are playing an increasingly prominent role in both the creation of new family-friendly ideas, and in refining and improving existing policies. Understanding how family-friendly schemes are playing out, and whether they are working in a way that complements organisational goals and strategy requires systematic examination. The case studies show us that remaining compliant or trying to match competitor peers is not a sufficient basis for implementing family-friendly working if it isn’t underpinned by an understanding of what the issues are, what change will look like, how it will be measured, and how it will be sustained.
Secondly, organisations are thinking about flexibility as a culture change activity rather than one which sits within HR. With flexibility very much in the mainstream now, new ideas and practices are part of a continuum of a new way of everyday working that is flexible, family-friendly and in tune with the needs of individuals and of their organisations. What the entries to the awards show is that it isn’t the responsibility of the HR team to make them work, and that flexibility isn't just about parents but about work being organised with the grain of people’s lives. In these organisations flexibility has matured into a way of approaching work that is supported by, and supportive of, the wider organisation.
The Working Families Awards and in particular the category of Best for Embedded Flexibility are important to Barclays, helping us to create sustainability around our Dynamic Working Campaign. We aim to ensure dynamic working is available for all our colleagues including our future talent and our alumni who may decide in the future to return to the Bank. The external recognition enables this momentum to continue.
Barclays - 2016 Special Award Winner