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Published: 26 Jun 2024

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – Finalist 2024, Best Family Network sponsored by BlckBx

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s (URW) Working Families Network strives to be a force for positive change in the day-to-day lives of employees, and to and create an inclusive and welcoming place to work. 

Peer support 

The network is a close community of members and provides a platform to connect and support employees through all stages of their family lifecycles. The group encourages communication in all forms, providing an opportunity for members to be actively involved in conversations, offering their personal perspectives, and supporting them through significant milestones. 

Family-friendly working 

Initiatives are designed to promote inclusivity, so that everyone feels they can be themselves at work regardless of family circumstance – from becoming the charity partner for Sands for Baby Loss Awareness Week to changing the bi-annual ‘Bring Your Kids to Work Days’ to be ‘URW Family Days’, which increases in participation year on year.. Network meetings are regularly chaired by the People Team, meaning they can act as a focus group to provide the Business with real life examples and suggestions to finely tune policies and processes, as well as give a temperature check of how employees are in general, and how the Business can offer support. The network has an important role in raising awareness of the support in place for employees and so events such as Keeping in Touch breakfasts, network newsletters and lunch and learn sessions are used as a great platform to communicate what’s available. Involvement in the network is acknowledged during performance reviews through business objectives, and those delivering initiatives are recognised in weekly company updates, which also helps spread the word.  

A force for change 

The network understands the impact they have, not just on shaping and improving URW’s own policies, but setting standards across the industry. Therefore, the network is at the heart of any implementation or update of a family policy, either as an inspiration or acting as an adviser. It also acts as a tool to assess process and procedure, helping to develop policies. For example, the recently updated Adoption policy led to the first employee navigating parenthood through adoption and connecting them with allies in the network who have experienced the process. There is a focus on ensuring events and communications support topics which are relatable to all family units, as well as supporting gender balance in the workplace, and so the network is now focusing on exploring fertility benefit offerings, menopause awareness, support for retiring employees, lunch and learn sessions to drive health and wellness, including sexual health, and creating a female leadership platform.  

The network is supported through positive advocacy of senior leaders, and senior role models support and demonstrate family friendly working in their day to day to encourage positive role modelling.