Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Does It Really Mean to Be ‘Family Friendly’?

As a career mom, I always ask one thing when I interview for a new position: “Do you consider yourself a family-friendly company, and if so, why?”

I nearly always hear the same response: “Yes, we do. We have an excellent family medical package.” Or, “Of course. Many of our employees have children.”

However, once I’m in company, family friendliness is M.I.A.

Companies must understand that, more than ever, their recruits are looking for a family-friendly employer. And these days, that definition means much more than a good benefits package, as a recent Wall Street Journal column points out. Professionals are demanding the flexibility to balance work and family life. As competition increases for talented job candidates, family-friendly options are no longer a choice but a necessity for your business to succeed.

Scheibel Halaska, which was recently named a Family-Friendly Employer by Metroparent Magazine, has understood this reality from the firm’s inception. Mary Scheibel, the firm’s principal, started the company because she needed balance between work and her family.

Over a decade later, one reason SH has achieved success is because of its commitment to employees and their families. Just as a family works as a team, so do the employees at Scheibel Halaska. The firm’s team approach allows employees to achieve that balance between work and family.

Promoting your company as a family-friendly employer can help you recruit top talent. But you can’t just say you’re family-friendly; any employer can do that. As SH understands, you have to practice family friendliness consistently, and you have to do it as a team.

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