Families come in many shapes and sizes. Family dynamics and challenges can be relatively simple or complex. There is literally not one-size-fits-all and I would love to dispel the thinking that, as a business, we only consider families with a traditional mum, dad and kids. Families are people who care for parents, a couple with no kids, a single person does actually have a family they need to consider. Families are same sex, culturally diverse, medically challenged – I could go on, but you get the idea.
I’ve worked in RiM for nearly 9 years and one of the reasons that I have stayed so long is that my family values have been met from day one and I have been able to introduce further family values into the company with great ease.
Let me tell you a short story. Day one in RiM, new job, new boss. My daughter was only one year old and that day, for the very first time since she started there, the creche called to say she had a fever.
They said – don’t worry just yet, we have given her some medicine and she is fine. What should I do? New job + Mum guilt + I want to be with my daughter to soothe her myself = a big quandary.
I decided to be brave. I popped my head into my new boss’s office to give him the heads-up that I didn’t have to go yet, but it was a possibility. His reaction said everything to me about this new company “Get out of here, there is nothing more important than your kids.” It didn’t matter to him that she didn’t strictly “need” me or that it was my first day.
RiM is challenging in many ways – our ambition has always been bigger than our resources. However, no matter how busy or stretched we are, family always comes first. There is no silent eye-rolling when a colleague can’t make a meeting because of a family issue, there is no guilt passed around when someone covers for you. We genuinely live this precious value.
With it being International Day of Families, I thought I would pull together in one place all the ways we demonstrate this Family First Value:
- In 2013, we launched a clear flexitime policy
- We were remote working long before COVID
- Since 2013, we have had gorgeous Christmas parties for our kids
- Occasionally, when people are stuck without childcare, you will see their kiddie playing in the office.
- We look for ways to say yes to carers leave and parental leave instead of excuses to postpone them.
- We go above and beyond privately supporting employees with very tough family situations
- Our fur babies are taken very seriously in RiM. There are a LOT of animal lovers and pet emergencies are real emergencies to us.
- Even though we are a small company with limited budgets, we have worked year-on-year to increase our paid maternity leave.
- In 2021 and 2022, we not only created fertility and surrogacy policies, but we offered them to any company that would like to use them. We did this to start conversations and offer quick solutions all around Ireland.
- Our policies embrace all types of families.
- Currently, we have our first shared leadership position, and we are using this as a case study to see how we can do it better and offer it with more leadership roles.
Family First is a value that’s not just good for your company, but good for society. It’s sustainability in action.