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For many people, family is one of the most important components in their lives. Like it or not, your employees aren’t going to look back and think–“I wish I’d spent more time at work.” Instead, they are going to wish they’d spent more time enjoying their family or on the hobbies they love. Knowing that you can’t compete with family uncovers the opportunity you have to help your employees bring family and work closer together, instead of putting them in competition.

Get to know their families

By getting to know the families of the people that work for you, you will get to know them better as people. You will start to see the entire person, where their passions are, how they are best motivated, and the special value they bring outside of just their job description.

When you hire someone, their whole family is impacted on some level. If you support their family, that family will be more likely support your employee and your business.

Example: Extend your open-door/phone policy to your employee’s partner, so that if they have questions about benefits, holidays, or events, they feel connected and supported by you and your business.

It’s unavoidable that work affects family members. They are the ones listening to the story of how your employee’s day went or maybe they’re picking up kids, or keeping dinner warm so your employee can stay late to crank something out the door. Be considerate of their partners and make them feel included like they are part of your company too (because aren’t they?)

Remember that every employee (including you!) is a whole person—they are a mother, a daughter, a partner, a best friend, and an expert in what they do.

How a family-integrated culture affects teams

Not only will getting to know your staff’s family help you build a better relationship with them but if you bring family into the workplace, your team will get to know each other better. This will help humanize the workplace and grow and fuel collaboration as well as empathy and respect.

I love the notion from Bob Chapman, Chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Corporation, “Everyone in the workforce is someone’s precious child.”

For me, this has been an incredibly powerful perspective to grab onto. If I approach every conversation like there’s this whole person on the other side and not like they are ‘marketing unit #3’ it helps me see creative and thoughtful options for handling whatever issue is at hand.

Ideas to help integrate families into your culture

While some of these ideas won’t work for every business, I hope that they at least are a good place to start if you are brainstorming new ways to get families more involved in your business:

  • Mother’s Day – At PaySimple we pass out blank cards that each employee trades with one of their teammates who then writes a message to their coworker’s mom. We ship the cards off and our moms receive a special message about their kid for Mother’s Day. (Our mom’s love it!)
  • Holiday Party – At our annual holiday party, we throw the party and then also pick out personalized gifts for each of our 90 employees. In addition to that, we also get gifts for our employees’ partners as an appreciation for their support.
  • Summer Party– At our annual summer party, family participation is encouraged with lots of kid and adult-friendly games and socializing.
  • Team Happy Hours – When we have a company-wide team happy hour, significant others are always invited, so that people have the option to socialize with their teammates and hang out with the person important to them at the same time.
  • Work from home/Home from work— If you can provide the option to telecommute, this may take the strain of commuting off of your employees. When they are at work, allow applications like Slack and Google Hangouts so that people can easily and quickly check in with their family.

Putting a focus on and the effort into building relationships with the families of your employees will help you earn buy-in from them. Long term, this buy-in and understanding will help when you hit the ups and downs that every business experiences.

In a perfect world

What is all this working towards? If your goals are to build a workplace you love and a successful business at the same time, then it’s time to get to know your employees and their families better. By understanding and helping your employees achieve the fulfillment they are looking for in life, you will earn their loyalty, their motivation, their hard work, and their passion. More and more research is showing that people don’t just value having a job and getting a paycheck, more than ever they value autonomy to manage their whole lives in a way that works best for them. Within the confines of each role and industry, we should all be striving towards providing the ultimate level of flexibility for each person. By achieving this, our employees will always be bringing the best, most balanced version of themselves to work every day.

We are always looking for rock stars to join our team. If you’re interested in learning more about working at PaySimple, visit our careers page.

Mel Torgusen

Mel Torgusen

Mel Torgusen is the Director of Empowerment at PaySimple. Amongst the many perks she's enjoyed at PaySimple since 2009, she is most grateful for the option to wear yoga pants to work.

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