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This past week, we were honored to receive Austin’s Best Place for Working Parents designation. The criteria that go along with winning an award like this include establishing family-friendly initiatives around benefits, time off and flexibility, and various other things we incorporate to provide the best for our employees. While these policies are important, they only communicate part of what we think the distinction says about our company.
What’s on paper doesn’t make a family-friendly workplace; it’s a culture of treating each other like a family that, if rooted deep in the heart of your business, makes everything work. We witnessed that firsthand this past week.
At SKG, we focus on a family-friendly work culture and it makes our business stronger. Besides all the research about retention rates and increased productivity, it just feels good to do right by everyone. Here are some ways SKG takes care of SKGers and our extended Austin family.
As all of us here in Austin and all over Texas hunkered down from the effects of record low temperatures and rare blizzard-like conditions, there was a different feel around our business. There were the usual rapid alerts as early emails zing into the inbox. But, last week the subject lines and content were vastly different, reading things like, “IF YOU DO NOT HAVE POWER-PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES AND YOUR FAMILIES,” and, “PLEASE DON’T MONITOR YOUR EMAILS OR USE YOUR PHONE BATTERY IF YOU DONT’ HAVE POWER. KEEP THAT FOR EMERGENCIES.” And the kindness continued string after string with employees up and down the organizational hierarchy offering food, guest rooms, rides, batteries, blankets, even the open invitation for people take refuge at the heated office. It was heartwarming and very indicative of our culture that prioritizes people.
Now, we know there are business inboxes all around Austin with similar sentiments, so this is not really meant to single us out. It’s more of a reminder that even during Texas’ Snowmageddon as most Austin businesses got their fair share of work-from-homers, we witnessed how the family-friendly culture can still thrive.
As the snow melts and businesses continue their post COVID upward trajectory to remote work, the questions still swirls around whether a family-first culture or any culture for that matter can work in a hybrid environment.
Here’s a newsflash for you, and it kind of ties back into the beginning of this blog, if you have working parents, or workers with pets or workers with bigger responsibilities at home, you already have a hybrid–minded workforce. Think about this, 80% of American families have at least one person in the workforce. That means an overwhelming majority of people every day are at the very least working in different mental environments, doing their absolute best to balance work and life, trying to be a great co-worker and a stellar PTA volunteer, trying to meet the big deadline and make the big game. If that isn’t a hybrid workforce, we don’t know what is. As we’ve said before, the hybrid mindset is nothing new.
IDEAS to help keep the family culture alive and well
So, don’t think of culture permeation as a revolutionary approach but rather an evolutionary one. You don’t have to always come up with something new, you just have to be creative with what you’re already doing and find ways to take your culture to people wherever, however, whenever they work. Make sure your policy and procedures promote the things families want and need like maternity/paternity leave and good benefits, absolutely. But do the intangible things, too. Make it a point to learn about each other, create time to share, schedule fun things during work hours, and if you have to do all these things over a teleconference, that’s okay.
At the end of the day, culture is your business’ way of life. It’s not a 9-to-5 thing. It’s not an office thing. It’s not a remote thing. It’s your thing to share far and wide, and if your culture prioritizes taking care of each other, you end up getting better at taking care of business.