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Published: 26 Jun 2024

bp – Winner 2024, Best Family Network, sponsored by BlckBx

bp’s UK Working Families Network’s goal to support employees through life’s challenges has resulted in a broad range of impactful activities, that aims to drive an equitable and inclusive culture where families can thrive. 

Peer support 

The network actively reaches out to a diverse demographic and represents many family perspectives including blended families, elderly caregivers, sandwich carers and carers of children with special needs. Commitment options are customised to fit the time and availability of network members. Acting as a communication platform, the network offers support through events, information sharing, allyship and advocacy. In the past year it has facilitated UK-wide Conversation Cafes, shared employee stories, and delivered culturally diverse events, resulting in membership growing by 142%. 

Family-friendly working 

The network is promoted in a variety of ways, via internal communication channels, employee newsletters, and online and in-person events that enhance the network’s visibility and impact.  

One role of the network is to ensure the dissemination of information, and so they have launched a SharePoint site with detailed information about policies, support networks and benefits. The network reaches out via a survey to gather feedback on how they can support members and are responsive, providing panel events with senior leadership including CFO sponsor on work-life balance, and webinars on topics from online safety to mental health. Engaging with other employee resource groups has helped to enhance a positive work environment. Collaboration has resulted in a parent room refresh initiative and a Family Day attended by 2,000 adults and children. The network facilitated and delivered a Working Families week which focused on sharing parenting stories from senior leaders, opportunities to meet the network team and flexible working webinars. 

A force for change 

The network is seen as integral to the organisation. It’s representation of a sizeable portion of the workforce means it can effectively advocate on matters that impact families. In the past year it has been successful in advocating a Neonatal Care Leave policy to provide extra leave and full pay for the parents of babies who need neonatal care. The network has also supported the evolution of the Employee Assistance policy to provide support to children from the age of 12 instead of 16. Following a review of back up care and emergency care providers, the network negotiated an extended booking window for advance emergency care from two to four weeks. The network also advocated for a salary sacrifice or nursery fee payment scheme which is currently under deliberation. Committee members are recognised and rewarded with points that can be exchanged for goods or vouchers and bonuses awarded for outstanding contributions.