Belfast City Council

“As a working mum with five kids, four still at school from the ages of ten to 16 years, Belfast City Council’s flexible working arrangements mean I can see my children in the morning, split the school run with my husband, and still travel to work in Belfast, one hour away. The flexibility is invaluable, I’d never be able to juggle family, job and travelling without it”.

– Gabrielle Madden-Ross, Internal Communications Manager

In the first of our series of interviews with Family Friendly Employer Awards 2017 winners, learn from the 2017 Overall Winner, Belfast City Council—on how being a recognised family friendly employer yields business benefits, and how their work doesn’t stop there—as they look ahead to improving family friendly policies in the future.

In what way do family friendly initiatives benefit your organisation?

Belfast City Council understands that our employees need to balance the demands of work with their personal life while enjoying success and satisfaction with both. Helping our employees achieve a work-life balance is crucial as our employees are essential to the provision of the high quality services that are expected of us. We find that significant business benefits can be gained from being family friendly. These include improvement in recruitment and retention, employees’ motivation and commitment, and reduction in sickness and absence levels.

How has Employers For Childcare helped Belfast City Council?

As well as administering our Childcare Voucher scheme for Belfast City Council for a number of years and being an excellent source for best practice advice, Employers For Childcare provides our staff directly with information on childcare provision and other helpful parenting information.

Why did you decide to apply for the Awards?

External verification helps improve the reputation of Belfast City Council as an employer of choice. Such recognition not only helps us retain existing talent within the organisation but also helps us attract new talent. It also provides recognition for staff who are involved in developing and implementing these initiatives and polices and it helps us share best practice with other organisations, fulfilling our role as a civic leader.

What did it mean to you winning this award?

The award provides worthy recognition for the HR and OD team and their work to develop and implement best practice through policies and initiatives which support our people.  It validates our efforts to be an employer of choice and lead the way in the provision of work-life balance and family friendly initiatives.

– Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Belfast City Council

What did you enjoy the most about the Awards Ceremony?

Being shortlisted and invited to be part of the event was recognition in itself.  Meeting other high performing organisations and sharing their best practice was very beneficial.  The key speakers were inspiring and informative.  Winning the awards was a delightful surprise at a fabulous event in beautiful surroundings.

What do you hope to achieve in the future regarding family friendly policies?

We will develop and agree a new Gender Action Plan and a new Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2018-21. We are also excited about a Health & Wellbeing App that we have in the works, which will enable staff to source advice and guidance and news on a range of initiatives on a daily basis. Furthermore, the Council regularly reviews and updates its policies, depending on legislative changes, best practice and staff-led demand.