Working Families' most family-friendly workplaces revealed

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Working Families has announced its annual list of the top family-friendly employers in the UK

Employers from across the public, private, and third sectors competed to gain a coveted place on the work/life balance charity’s list of the 30 most family-friendly workplaces. The Top Employers for Working Families list, for which HR magazine is media partner, was unveiled as part of Working Families’ National Work Life Week campaign.

Employers were assessed using Working Families’ Benchmark and were scored on four key areas to build a comprehensive picture of their flexible and family-friendly policies and practices that specifically support mothers, fathers and carers. These areas are:

  • Integration to organisational strategy and culture – which looks at culture, attitude and how far flexible and family-friendly working practices have become embedded.
  • Policy – which looks at the creation, development and deployment of flexible and family-friendly working policies.
  • Consistent practice – which considers how well flexible and family-friendly working are supported.
  • Evidence and statistics – which looks at the effects of flexible and family-friendly working on the organisation, and their ability to understand those effects.

Jane van Zyl, chief executive of Working Families, said that top employers are those that go beyond policy to cultural changes.

“We are delighted to recognise the 30 outstanding organisations that made our Top Employers for Working Families list this year,” she said. “These employers excelled in our rigorous benchmarking process, proving they are leading the way in building family-friendly and flexible workplaces. Crucially they are not just putting policies in place; they are building cultures that support their employees’ wellbeing.”

The 2019 Top Employers for Working Families – in alphabetical order – are:

  • Allen & Overy
  • American Express
  • Bank of England
  • Citigroup
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Deloitte
  • Dentsu Aegis Network
  • DWF
  • Experian
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Imperial College
  • Independent Living Fund Scotland
  • Intellectual Property Office
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Mayer Brown
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Mishcon de Reya
  • National Assembly for Wales
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Public Health England
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Simmons & Simmons
  • Southdown Housing
  • UBS AG
  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
  • Yorkshire Building Society

The Working Families Benchmark, which captures the experiences of more than 450,000 UK employees across the organisations that took part, is also used to examine trends in flexible and family-friendly policies and practices. It found that 41% of the employers surveyed analyse all jobs to determine their potential for flexibility before advertising vacancies.

When asked about the barriers to flexibility 64% of employers cited lack of line manager skills as the biggest barrier in their organisation. While 70% provide training for line managers on managing flexible working, only 45% make this training compulsory. Consequently, only 31% of organisations have trained more than half of their managers.

The research also found that 64% of employers believe addressing their gender pay gap is their biggest opportunity for developing greater work/life balance in the coming year.

These findings come as the government is considering a requirement for employers to take a part-time and flexible-by-default approach to recruitment. A group of cross-bench MPs, led by parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and MP for Faversham and Mid Kent Helen Whately, put forward a bill in July to make all work flexible by default. The bill is currently making its way through parliament.

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