Career and Family
The berufundfamilie audit
participants in the Grünenthal auditing
The non-profit limited liability company berufundfamilie (“career and family”) was established by the Hertie foundation in 1998. Since then, it has offered employers the berufundfamilie audit. berufundfamilie determines the company’s status quo in terms of the compatibility of family and profession in an auditing workshop with representatives of various company divisions. Eight fields of activity are examined in the process: working hours, work organization, information and communication policy, leadership skill, HR development, salary components as well as services for families. Further-reaching measures are being derived from the results and agreed upon. The certificate is awarded at the end of the auditing process. It certifies that the employer is dedicated to ensuring the compatibility of family and career. The implementation of the objectives and measures agreed upon is checked after three years in a re-auditing procedure.
We spoke with Mrs. Hazel C. and Mr. Alexander M., participants in the Grünenthal auditing workshop.
What is your family situation like and what kind of everyday challenges do you face in terms of your family and career?
HC: I live in Neuss together with my partner and our eight-year-old son. The long workday is a challenge, since commuting times of two hours per day mean that I am away for ten hours each day and am never home before 6:00 PM. It's very difficult to find to find suitable childcare. Even now that my son goes to all-day public school, he still has to be picked up by his babysitter, since school already gets out at 4:00 PM. We have a big whiteboard at home with a plan showing who will be picking up our son or bringing him to sports on which day. But situations still come up where I need a solution on short notice. Fortunately, we have plenty of friends as well as a mother-in-law who can help out in an emergency.
AM: I’m married and we have two sons, one is almost three years old and the other is sixteen months old. My parents live with us and the in-laws live right next door. There are also two grandfathers who are starting to need care and who I support.
You took part in the auditing workshop during the auditing process. What can you tell us about it?
AM: The participants and their interests were quite different. For instance, there were production employees who took part who share early and late shifts so that one parent could always be at home with the children. Of course, the financial options here are quite limited. But there were also single parents and double-earners. Roughly twenty employees took part in total.
HC: At the workshop, we discussed certain topics and compared notes under the supervision of the auditing company. After that, we tried to develop approaches to solve the various issues and problems.
What topics were addressed?
HC: The focus was certainly on child care. But we also talked about the challenges in supporting one’s own parents. Another focus was the possibility of flexible working hours. This was a welcome option, especially in the Compound Development and Branding division, and many employees are already taking advantage of it.
AM: Other topics included home office, childcare during school vacation and human resource development.
HC: A great deal has happened at Grünenthal in the past year. Several of my colleagues are now taking advantage of the home office option. It is very helpful to be able to work from home and wait for a delivery person or repairman without having to take a whole day off to do so, especially if you have a long way to travel to work. During the last autumn vacation, we also had our first children’s vacation games, which was a great event. My son had a lot of fun with the many exciting activities they offered.
What do you wish for the future?
HC: A lot has been going on at Grünenthal in the past few months, but not every change affects every employee directly, such as the option to have flexible working hours. This “leeway” offers greater flexibility for not only the employees, but the company itself.
AM: Exactly. People who are happy with their family live also perform well at the company.
HC: I think there is also room for improvement in the field of part-time employment. For instance, we could make it easier for people to get back into their careers after parental leave.
AM: Another goal remains organising emergency care in cooperation with external partners. And providing contact people and drop-in centers for new employees and their families would make it easier for them to get started at Grünenthal.
last update: 11 Jan 2012