Unibail Rodamco Westfield – Finalist 2023, Best Family Network sponsored by BlckBx
Unibail Rodamco Westfield’s UK network continuously works towards positively impacting policies, processes and working environment to ensure the organisation is an inclusive and welcoming place to work.
The strength of the Working Families Network is as a close community of employees with differing backgrounds, demographics and family types that can share different perspectives based on their lived experience. All Employees have the opportunity to join the Network and are informed of the Network through the company induction, and through suggestion by their line manager or HR when they have a change in family circumstance. The network regularly sends companywide communications that feature their achievements, events and how to become a member. The network offers peer-to-peer support, as well as an opportunity to become a ‘Family Buddy’ to other employees. The group share relevant content and tips through a Teams channel. Communication in all forms is encouraged to provide opportunity to join in conversations by sharing experiences, actively listening and supporting each other.
A source of support
An important role of the network is seen as continually raising awareness of support in place, providing training on relevant family policies. Events such as Bring Your Kids to Work Days, networking breakfasts, carers lunch and learn sessions and menopause workshops are facilitated by the network to enhance the employee experience. Members can become accredited Mental Health First Aiders and in turn benefit from being able to signpost themselves, employees, friends, family for mental health support. The network is supported by senior leaders who role model family-friendly working to encourage a positive balance between work and home. As well as acting a sounding board for each other, the network provides an open source of listening within the wider business, so that members and others can approach with suggestions or recommendations for change. Achievements of the network are shared with management teams so wins can be celebrated. Members are tasked with promoting the family friendly benefits and processes the URW UK have on offer, such as making sure new starters and new parents and carers are aware of the support offered to them through medical insurance and instant GP access through a dedicated app.
A collective voice
As a platform with a powerful voice within the business, the network provides opportunities to positively influence family and wellbeing policies and practices, and drive family-friendly initiatives to improve the organisation for families. Implementing or updating family policy often places the network at its heart, through inspiring creation of policies or acting as advisors; as in the example of a senior leader who was involved in rewriting the Adoption policy to ensure it chimed with their lived experience. A dedicated HR resource regularly chairs network meetings, which act as a focus group and can provide the HR team with real life examples and suggestions to tailor policies and process reviews, as well as providing insight on where there may be areas of need.