The Financial Services Compensation Scheme was awarded the Family-Friendly Employer of the Year title at the 2021 Personnel Today Awards, which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane. We take a look at its entry and those of our other finalists.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is committed to diversity and inclusion and believes a family-friendly approach is core to this aim.
Many of the benefits offered by FSCS are extended to family members, including health insurance that covers partners and children. There is a virtual GP service for employees’ children and specific advice for families available through its employee assistance programme. It is a member of Working Families and advertises roles on job boards where it can connect with candidates that want flexible working.
Its shared parental pay offer matches its enhanced maternity pay offer, which provides 100% of salary for weeks one to 20, statutory maternity pay for weeks 20 to 39 and unpaid leave for the remainder of the year. Enhanced paternity pay is also offered, with all employees able to take up to 20 weeks’ paid paternity leave for each child. The FSCS has seen 100% of fathers taking more than two weeks, and the majority using the full 20.
Being a family-friendly employer has helped FSCS achieve 62.5% female representation on its executive team and 54.5% female representation on the board in 2021. It has also seen its median gender pay gap reduce from 11.8% in March 2019 to 6.5% in March 2020. Ninety-one percent of employees say the organisation is an inclusive and caring employer.During the Covid-19 pandemic it increased its paid dependants’ leave from five to 20 days – this change has since been made permanent. It also offers other types of family leave, including adoption leave. Family-friendly activities form part of the organisation’s engagement plans, such as virtual cooking classes and a nature-themed scavenger hunt.
Judges said the organisation had gone beyond having “just an initiative” and had worked hard to embed its policies and empower staff to work flexibly.
Nest Corporation is the National Employment Savings Trust, the trustee of the government’s NEST occupational pension scheme. Its mission is to help millions of people enjoy a better retirement, and it employs 350 staff.
There are a range of employee benefits designed with families in mind, including a low-cost pension scheme, where Nest contributes 8%, and life assurance that pays a tax-free lump sum equal to four times basic salary. Staff can buy up to 10 extra days of leave per year on top of 25 days’ holiday, and flexible working arrangements such as compressed hours and job sharing are available.
The organisation offers enhanced shared parental leave, as well as six months’ full paid maternity leave. Returners can access professional coaching to help them settle back into the workplace. An annual “Hatchlings Day” offers a programme of educational activities for employees’ children. During the pandemic school closures, staff could borrow iPads from Nest to help children attend virtual classes.
Staff turnover at Nest is just 8%, compared to an average of 18% in the financial services sector, and 88% of employees would recommend it as a good place to work. Ninety-two percent are satisfied with the flexible working options available to them at the organisation.
Pets at Home Group
Pet retailer Pets at Home Group believes that “pets need people” and this shows in its commitment to family-friendly working.
The company’s family-friendly strategy began with a group-wide listening programme to find out what benefits were popular and what might be useful to introduce, as well as how the company could improve what it already offered. Colleagues said they would like more transparency on benefits (as in who qualified for what) and solid core benefits such as discounts, pensions and time off. There is now a family-centric online reward hub responding to these needs as well as offering financial wellbeing advice and a share scheme.
Flexible working arrangements have been improved, including split shifts so colleagues can manage childcare responsibilities, more flexible shifts, changes to working hours and the option to reduce hours. Family support leave gives colleagues five paid support days per year on top of their existing leave allowance. There is a new ‘friends and family’ contract that offers support for employees’ family members who are out of work or who were on furlough. Those with “four-legged family” are welcome to bring their pets to work.
Other benefits included a £50 Tesco voucher to help families buy Christmas dinner, a colleague hardship fund and support for managers to look after employees struggling with domestic responsibilities.