Family-friendly policy tops 2005 government agenda

This year, there’s one issue that HR will not have to sell to the board.

Family-friendly working policies are set to dominate the forthcoming general election as the major political parties will aim to win over the electorate with a raft of policies designed to improve work-life balance.

The Labour Government isn’t wasting any time in preparing the election battleground. Plans for a new Bank Holiday in a third term reflect a desire to be seen as the party of flexible working practices.

As the manifestos are published and the election campaign begins, so the work-life balance message will spread.

Whoever wins the election, staff are likely to end up with greater expectations of flexible working, and employers will be expected to deliver. In a tight labour market, they will have to worker harder to keep workers motivated and engaged. This will have a knock-on effect for recruitment, reward and recognition policies.

Aside from looking at the needs of the wider organisation, HR directors will also have to consider the effect of family-friendly policies on their own departments. How will resourcing needs change? Will skills requirements be affected, and how?

By putting working life at the top of the election agenda, the Government is asking all of us to think about how we want to work. Whatever the outcome of the election, and whatever workplace legislation is introduced, this HR issue is now top of the political and social agenda. And that can only be a good thing.

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