How employers influence and can support the sustainability of employee families

Hine, Catherine (2019) How employers influence and can support the sustainability of employee families. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Employers face a ‘war for talent’; an increasingly competitive market for recruitment and retention of employees through which non-financial benefits organisational culture and reputation play an increased role. The Department for Work and Pension’s 2014 Family Test introduced a framework for policy makers to assess the potential impact of their practices on families of different structures and experiencing different family situations from family formation to transitions and separation. This qualitative research study used The Family Test framework to explore the accounts of employees working for different employers in the private and public sector and with diverse family structures and situations, to better understand how employers influence employee family situations and to learn which employer practices contribute to or undermine the sustainability of employee families.

Eleven semi-structured interviews yielded the following key findings: firstly, families are diverse by their structure, human and financial resources available and vulnerability to ‘tipping points’. Secondly, whilst employers to some degree consider family transitions and ongoing responsibilities, there was little consideration of families in formation, at risk or going through separation. Thirdly, whilst family transitions and ongoing responsibilities receive attention, employers make assumptions about predictability of family processes and of ‘ideal workers’ able to avoid family incursions into the workplaces, because of presumed ‘on tap care’. For employers to meaningfully support the sustainability of contemporary families, which are diverse, dynamic and complex, the research highlighted the importance of overcoming underlying cultural assumptions about the ‘ideal worker’ and his ‘cornflake packet family’, which inform amongst other factors, policy development, manager application of policy, definitions of performance, approaches to flexibility and compassionate cultures which enable employees to safely and openly seek support.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: sustainability responsibility family HR
Depositing User: HINE, Catherine
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2022 14:03
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2022 14:03

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