Creating a Singles-friendly Workplace
The workforce of today is becoming increasingly diverse with respect to factors such as generation, gender and life choices such as children, marriage and so on. A distinct trend is the growing number of singles at the workplace, as career commitments delay or even place marriage on the backburner. These people often feel excluded in an organizational culture that often revolves around families. Be it policies, engagement activities or work arrangements, such singles must be proactively included in the workplace.
Here’s how HR can help.
1. Create an inclusive environment for all: Inclusiveness is beyond life choices; it is crucial for everyone to feel they are an integral part of the team. For this, it is important for supervisors to understand differences and break boundaries. HR can impart training to team supervisors to promote a feeling of connect and support at work.
2. Assign work irrespective of marital/family status: Work should be allocated based on merit and talents, and not on other life factors such as family status. Refer to the past performance data and strengths repository to assess potential and assign projects. Single workers will then feel that the organization is fair and transparent in its work policies.
3. Policies for all: Often, benefits and policies are defined for specific work segments such as for families, employees and their spouses and so on. For example, the medical coverage or life insurance benefit may be for the entire family. Keep in mind that a significant segment of the population is single; so you may want customized benefits. For example, a single employee may be asked to include a parent as a nominee rather than a spouse, thereby availing a just and fair benefit in line with his or her requirements. Or you can incorporate pet-care as an add-on benefit for singles.
4. Employ cafeteria-style benefits: You can design an entirely new bucket of benefits for singles. For example, rather than offering a family vacation package at discounted rates, incorporate a subsidy for fitness classes or for higher education.
5. Leave management: It is important to strive for consistency and treat all employees the same when it comes to time off, flexible work arrangements and so on. Of course, some groups such as expecting mothers may have special needs, but being married or single is no criteria for concessions. Rather, individual requests for leave and work scheduling must be treated as just that — individual needs, not related to the marital status. Only then will the organization be perceived as fair and just in the eyes of all employees.
These are just some of the tips to help create an inclusive workplace for single and married employees alike. Such a transparent approach goes a long way in building trust and creating a long-term employer-employee relationship.