Team of employees after an accomplishment.
When he was asked what the secret to his success was, my father didn’t hesitate: It was my mother. Without her, he explained, he wouldn’t have been able to complete college or start his own business. Besides holding down the fort, my mother was my father’s biggest advocate. She offered words of encouragement when he wanted to give up. She provided feedback on his decisions. She was also more than willing to entertain guests when my father wanted to thank his colleagues or wow his clients.
As a business owner and a family man myself, I try to follow in my parents’ footsteps. I acknowledge that without my wife, I wouldn’t be here. I make it a point to tell her that and show her how much I value her, such as leaving work at work when I get home. I also share this philosophy with my employees. Personally, I believe it’s the right thing to do. But beyond that, if things are going well at home, people are happier. And when they’re happier, they’re more productive — and more likely to stick around.
How can you show your workers’ families how much you value them? Here are eight places to start.
1. Allow for more flexible work arrangements.
Instead of forcing your team to stick to an outdated 9-to-5 schedule, grant flexible work schedules that sync with people’s personal lives. For example, they could work only when their kids are in school. Even better, you could allow them to work from home more often. In fact, flexible work is critical to retention and loyalty. A survey from FlexJob found that 80% of employees would be more loyal if they had more flexible schedules.
2. Offer paid family leave.
Life events have a tendency to pop up, regardless of your work schedule. One benefit you should offer your team is a generous leave policy — even for events that don’t fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Examples include maternity/paternity leave, sick leave, and family leave.
Just make sure that you clearly communicate time-off policies to your teammates so they understand.
3. Provide on-site childcare.
Want to help your staff reduce anxiety and save money? Provide on-site childcare. At a minimum, you should at least ease up on infants-at-work policies that have been championed by Parenting in the Workplace Institute.
If this isn’t possible because you don’t have the extra space or can’t meet childcare regulations, at least offer to pay for a portion of their daycare fees.
4. Arrange for concierge services.
If you don’t have a child, you probably don’t realize how important this perk can be. It’s a chore to get your kid in the car and unload him or her just to pick up your dry cleaning or grab a couple of grocery items for dinner.
You may think this is outside your budget. But according to SHRM, “full-service concierge benefits can range in cost from $3 to $8 per employee per month.” As a result, this will improve retention and job satisfaction.
5. Make yourself available.
Prioritizing time with each employee may not be on the top of your to-do list; it may even seem impossible. However, it’s a proven way to build rapport with your team. Even more beneficial, you’ll get to know your team members personally, enabling you to spot any warning signs and determine how best to thank them for their efforts. For example, if I know that a team member and her family enjoy going to the movies or eating at a specific restaurant, I will give her gift cards to those places so the whole family can enjoy the reward.
Additionally, this is part of creating and maintaining an atmosphere of compassion. That means employees won’t hesitate to come to you if there’s a problem at home. Just remember not to pry — listen and understand what you can do to help, like reducing their workload or connecting them with your employee assistance program.
6. Encourage employees to prioritize their health and wellness.
Helping your employees focus on their mental and physical well-being isn’t just good for your bottom line; it will also improve employees’ home lives. If they’re not as stressed or exhausted, they’ll be healthier, happier, and more productive at home as well.
Offering excellent health insurance is a start. But also consider implementing an employee wellness program, providing healthy snacks, holding more standing meetings, or helping teammates curb vices like smoking.
7. Be respectful of their time.
It’s been found that 41% of people work at least one hour outside work hours 89 days each year, as well as on 50% of weekend days. On the surface, that may not sound like much, but it adds up over time. More importantly, that’s at least one less hour employees get to spend with their families each week.
Encourage your workers to leave work at work and actually enjoy their downtime with their families. You can set an example by not bombarding them with messages outside work hours.
I’d also recommend that you don’t keep people past their typical schedule unless it’s been previously agreed upon, like staying late to ensure that a product or project meets a one-time deadline. One way I do this is by avoiding scheduling meetings too close to closing time.
8. Build a family-friendly business.
Instead of taking your employees out to happy hour, have more family-friendly events like picnics or outings to sporting events or amusement parks. I’d also suggest volunteer opportunities that will strengthen camaraderie among your teammates, their families, and the community. Adults and kids alike, for example, can volunteer at a soup kitchen or help maintain a community garden.
We all want to attract and retain top talent. One of the most effective ways to do so is by showing your employees — and their families — that you value them. This helps employees achieve work-life balance, making everyone happier, healthier, and more productive. In turn, you’re more likely to create true advocates for your company among both your employees and their families.