Supporting a balance between employees' work lives and personal lives "is in the best interest of national worker productivity." At least that's what Congress declared in 2003 when it decreed that October shall be deemed "National Work & Family Month."
The problem: Many of your employees (and probably most job candidates) have no idea about all the great family-friendly benefits offered by your organization.
In recent years, work/life benefits have begun making a "comeback." During the go-go hiring days of the Internet boom, employers created all sorts of work/life perks to lure new employees, from napping rooms to paid sabbaticals.
Benefits consultant Gary Kushner says employers would often request a list of the "Top 10 work/life benefits" so they could copy them. Not so much anymore.
But Kushner says such perks are coming back "in a more strategic way." Employers these days are looking closely at their employees' needs, then planning their flex scheduling, telecommuting and other such benefits around those needs.
8 recruiting/retention tips
Celebrate Work & Family month at your organization by drawing attention to the work/life benefits you already offer, or by introducing new perks. Here are eight ideas:
1. Launch a work/life survey to solicit employee opinions on programs that your organization should expand, add or discontinue.
2. Conduct a work/life "quiz." Design a fun quiz to raise awareness about your work/life offerings. Make a list of work/life benefits and ask employees to check off which ones your organization offers. Put the names of employees with correct answers in a drawing for a prize.
3. Organize a "care fair." Offer employees refreshments and inexpensive gifts as they walk from table to table to learn about your organization's programs for child care, elder care, financial, retirement, health and recreation.
4. Invite speakers from community child care and elder care organizations to talk to employees during lunch-and-learn events each Friday in October.
5. Conduct employee focus groups to learn what they want and need from the organization when it comes to work/life benefits.
6. Launch a pilot program for teleworkers, or offer compressed workweeks or flextime.
7. Hold a "best boss" contest, and reward the supervisors whom employees identify as most flexible when it comes to work/life requests.
8. Start a listserv for employees interested in chatting with co-workers about child care, elder care or other work/life concerns.
For more information and tips about commemorating National Work & Family Month, visit the Alliance for Work-Life Progress Web site at www.awlp.org (click on box in left column).