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I read an article over on the site AIHR Digital recently that captured my attention. It’s titled “How to Make Your Organization More Life-Friendly”. What caught my attention was the part about “life friendly”. I thought author Suzanne Lucas (you might know her as Evil HR Lady) made a valid point about the difference between family friendly and life friendly.
I tend to stay out of conversations that are related to parenting since Mr. Bartender and I do not have children. Honestly, I’ve heard my fair share of “If you’re not a parent then you can’t possibly understand.” comments. But what I loved about the term “life friendly” is that it applies to both parents and non-parents. It also applies for those individuals who might not have “blood relatives” but they have people in their lives who are their number one priority.
Over the past few years, organizations have realized the value of employee experience. They also have realized that employees will have a better experience at work if they are allowed to bring their whole selves with them. No more of this “leave your personal life at the front door” stuff. I think it’s the reason that organizations are offering more in terms of parental leave programs, wellbeing programs, etc.
That’s why it might be time to take family friendly one step further. It’s time for organizations to start thinking in terms of life friendly policies and benefits. I think it’s more inclusive and allows organizations to demonstrate that all employees are important and valued. That being said, there are a few things for organizations to consider.
Life friendly isn’t simply a name change. Creating life friendly policies and benefits isn’t simply taking old policies and changing the name. So, companies shouldn’t change parental leave to life leave. HR departments will want to look at policies and make sure they are inclusive of more than one or two situations.
Life friendly policies and benefits have to align with the employee life cycle. When we say life friendly, we’re not just talking about parental leave benefits and policies. It’s all policies and benefits including time off, insurance, employee resource groups (ERGs), etc. HR departments might want to hold focus groups with employees to understand what life friendly means to them.
Life friendly means everyone. Speaking of focus groups, this is another opportunity to learn from employees what type of relationship they want to have with the organization. All of our employees have very unique lives. This is a very basic statement but sometimes we forget it. I see life friendly taking into account the uniqueness of everyone’s life.
Over the past year, employees have learned a lot about themselves. One big thing they’ve learned is that time is precious. They plan to refocus themselves on the people and things that matter to them most. And they will be looking for their organizations to support that.
Life friendly policies and benefits are an opportunity for organizations to demonstrate that they understand and support their employees. That they want all of their employees to feel like they belong.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby – – IYKYK
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