Each of our people carry-out an essential role in our business, but they also play a vital role in the lives of their families - whether looking after the children or caring for an elderly relative. We recognise that balancing the demands of work and family life can sometimes be difficult, so we are committed to providing leading working practices that fit well for our people. And it’s good for business too - by being a good employer, we can increase employee engagement which drives productivity and helps us retain talent needed to deliver a strong service for customers.
We are working hard to improve both awareness and accessibility of the support we provide to our people with carer responsibilities. At the end of 2014, we launched a new online portal that gives access to family friendly resources, including backup childcare and eldercare alongside webinars on practical family advice and benefits. The portal complements our existing Employee Assistance Programme which offers free and independent expert advice on issues ranging from bereavement to buying a home. In 2014, we also piloted a successful training programme for line managers that enable more effective conversations with carers. We are currently improving the return to work experience for new parents through a pilot that ensures they have the information and support needed before, during and after leave.
Our employee networks provide a vital place where mums, dads and carers can source advice, share experiences and give us their feedback on how we can better meet their needs.
- Our Women’s Network ran events and campaigns to help improve work-life balance and promote ways of working that will enable them to reach their full professional potential.
- Our Dad’s Networkwas created earlier this year to provide a more inclusive working environment for our 750 new dads, as well as strengthen their access to information following the introduction of Shared Parental Leave regulations.
- Our Carer’s Networkhas been running for a decade and in 2014, gained online capabilities that have helped grow the group to 1,000 members across the business.
Our approach to flexible working further enables our people to fulfil family commitments while balancing those from work. All our employees have the right to request flexible working which could mean working reduced hours or from home.
For example, Emma Poole who works in Group Risk at Centrica said,“Centrica has fully supported me in my quest to find the right balance for my family and my career. The openness and flexibility have made it easy for me to adapt my working arrangements with changes in circumstances, such as when my children started nursery or moved from nursery to school, so that I can get the most from both my work and my family life – and that means the business gets the best from me in return”.
We are sharing our learnings externally, so that a greater number of people can benefit from an improved quality of life. We fed into a report for Government that highlighted the need for flexible working opportunities to attract older workers and carers back to the workplace. We are also active members of Employers for Carers, to help even more carers retain employment.
In 2014, we were recognised as a Top Employer for Working Families and in 2015, we will remain committed to providing a supportive and caring environment for our people to flourish