For a lot of businesses being family friendly is high up on the agenda. After all, parents bring a ton of skills to the table whilst caring for their little ones like negotiation, multitasking, time management and problem solving. It’s no wonder businesses want to keep and nurture that talent so becoming family-friendly is a no-brainer for them. But what exactly does it mean to be family friendly and to have an inclusive culture where parents aren’t excluded? 

We’ve put together a list of signs that your workplace is indeed family friendly. How many of them apply to your business?

1. People feel comfortable discussing their plans to start a family.

Studies have shown that 42% of women would only ask about maternity leave if they were already pregnant and about to announce their pregnancy at work. It’s within a business’s interest to know early on about a person’s intention to start a family to allow for early planning, which ultimately benefits the business and that person in the long run!

2. People feel confident and assured that their job is secure however much parental leave they decide to take.

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination still exists in the workplace and women are very much aware of it. That’s why it’s so important to provide reassurance early on in someone’s pregnancy and reiterate it at key milestones. 

3. You don’t find out someone is expecting on the day their partner goes into labour.

This is still happening in some organisations and HR departments are scrambling last minute because of it. If your company has an open culture where discussions about parenthood are common place partners will recognise that they play an incredibly important role during pregnancy that deserves to be acknowledged by their employer.

4. Dads don’t feel pressured to return to work too soon and are able to communicate openly about how they feel.

Despite 80% of men not believing in traditional gender roles there’s still a low uptake of shared parental leave and paternity leave. This tells us that perceived biases in the workplace are preventing men from taking up their full entitlements and expressing how they really feel. If you’re breaking down biases then it’s likely many men take up their full entitlements already.

5. People don’t secretly search for maternity policies on sharepoint hoping their manager won’t find out.

You are transparent and people have access to maternity and parental policies from day 1 on the job.

6. Your workforce is age-diverse and gender inclusive.

Women who are of reproductive age are represented across the business and hold senior leadership positions. 

7. People have somewhere comfortable to express milk should they choose to (i.e not in the toilets and not in the car park).

You have a dedicated breastfeeding room that is fit for purpose and doesn’t just have a table and a chair. It should be a place that’s relaxing and comfortable that has more than just necessities. 

8. Parents are given the same opportunities and are promoted at the same rate as non-parents.

You don’t see stark differences in the demographics of people holding senior leadership positions during the typical age people start their families.