Making Family Friendliness Measurable

SHB experts develop online tool for controlling the reconciliation of work and family

In recent years, helping employees balance work and family has become increasingly important to German companies. Studies conducted under Professor Dr. Dr. Helmut Schneider at the Steinbeis Research Center for Family-Friendly Employee Policies (FFP), part of the Steinbeis Transfer Institute Berlin Institute for Society Research at SHB, have shown that investing in measures aimed at improving the reconciliation of work and family has paid off for businesses. But how can companies measure how effective and efficient the family-friendly policies they have introduced actually are? In cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation and with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Helmut Schneider and Frederik Ferié of FFP have developed an instrument that can answer this question for any company.

Through its research on the status quo of work-family balance in Germany, the Research Center for Family-Friendly Employee Policies has helped raising awareness and reinforcing the importance of the issue. To make sure that family-friendly policies are hitting the mark, the FFP experts first collaborated with a number of DAX, MDAX and “Mittelstand”-companies to figure out how the instrument needed to work. They learned that HR managers were primarily interested in obtaining conclusive results – while keeping the time invested as low as possible.

VB_kompass, a free online instrument developed by FFP, meets these criteria. The tool only requires a few general inputs, such as the industry, the size of the company and monthly data on the family-friendly policies which are currently in place. Furthermore it regularly inquires the status quo of a company’s family-friendliness.

With these few inputs and based on the FFP representative studies, VB_kompass calculates the effectiveness and efficiency of the company’s investments in the reconciliation of work and family. The results can be downloaded as a Microsoft Excel file. This includes informative tables and graphs which can be inserted e. g. into reports and presentations.

VB_kompass also features a “diary function,” which allows HR managers to create a log for each of the measures currently in place at the company. This can be useful for analyzing any changes in effectiveness and efficiency.

VB_kompass, which is available online for free since October 2014, can help companies answer questions about the effectiveness and the efficiency of its family-friendly policies. On www.vereinbarkeitscontrolling. de (currently only in German), they can also find additional information on the methodology used by VB_kompass, a detailed tutorial as well as a short explanatory video.

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