A friend of mine opened up a really great discussion the other day. She recently completed some mindfulness training and is now convinced that she is living mindlessly; living by rote, as she calls it. She has decided that she needs to get uncomfortable..., to give life a bit of a rub to help her wake up. She has decided she wants to drive some change in her life.
Seems that it's the BIG change she's after. She has decided to leave her job of the past eight years in a senior management position with an NGO and to move into the for-profit world. Immensely talented, I am convinced that she'll not have any difficulty finding the right employer. An energetic, team leader able to realize the organization's vision WITH the team, the corporate world only stands to benefit from all that this woman has to offer.
Assured that Emily was not making light of her decision I asked what matters to her most. Apart from having the opportunity to demonstrate her leadership skills and to deliver on change, she wants to land a position that offers her greater mobility than is typically available in the not-for-profit world. Fair.
In her mid thirties, Emily is also looking for a GREAT Family-Friendly work environment. I imagine these criteria will slow down the pace of change as she tries to land the right job as well as the right work environment. "How are you going to know whether a potential employer is Family-Friendly, or more to the point, that it is truly GREAT?" I asked. Does a Family-Friendly Employer designation even exist? I am aware of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and know about the Child-Friendly City Initiative, both being universal initiatives with building blocks toward the designation. But a Family-Friendly Employer designation?
After a brief search, we concluded that there is no internationally accepted designation, but we did find a Family-Friendly Employer designation awarded to some of Canada's Top 100 Employers, a competition managed by Mediacorp. Another list published by Working Mother identifies the 100 best companies for working mothers.
Both sources provide useful information and value some of the same workplace policies, but Emily is after a bigger prize and thought what a great idea to pull together a unique list of Family-Friendly Employer characteristics that could influence a universal designation.
If you were putting together such a list, what would you include? What do you value most from your Family-Friendly Employer? What's missing from your current work environment that would transform your present employer from being Family-Unfriendly to being Family-Friendly, from being simply Family-Friendly, to being GREAT Family-Friendly?
Emily is waiting to hear from you.... you know the drill.
photo credit:via captain Jen Japanese Wishes 2008