Balancing Family and Career Successfully

Whether they have a child or not, the child friendliness of employers is of great importance to young families: In a study by the Federal Ministry of Families, 90 percent of employees with a child indicated that this was at least as important as the wages; 70 percent of those without children shared this opinion. Students also value a balanced relationship between work and life (life balance); in fact, they view it as one of the most important characteristics when choosing an employer. This supports our understanding that a good life balance has a positive effect on motivation, the business culture and economic success.

Flexible Working Models Characterize Top Employers

E.ON strives for a balanced relationship between work and leisure time by offering its employees numerous flexible working-time models: this includes part-time work, home-office provisions, working-time trust systems and the option of taking longer leave (sabbaticals). The high value placed on flexible working time models in employer quality assessments is shown in the evaluations made during the Top Employer 2011 certification process carried out by the independent Corporate Research Foundation. More than 90 percent of Germany's top employers allow part-time work, flexitime and working-time trust systems as standard, and 87 percent additionally offer their employees the opportunity to work from a home office.

Targeted Support Augments Flexibility

Balancing career and family, however, takes more than family-friendly working time provisions. Therefore we have developed various tools to give targeted support to our employees, for example in parental leave. To keep mothers and fathers on parental leave as close as possible to the company processes, we offer them to stand in for colleagues during holiday and sickness leave. Before their return to work, they are required to attend an individual planning meeting with their manager. Likewise, our business units are committed to organizing care arrangements: Group management makes subsidised care spaces available in cooperation with a day-care center and a day nursery, and cooperates with external suppliers to arrange ad-hoc care.

As part of its Plusvalet program, E.ON Sverige offers its employees the opportunity to use services such as babysitting or support along with housework and gardening up to the value of EUR200 annually.

Caring for dependants increases in importance

According to the 2010 Personnel Marketing Survey by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, in Germany alone around ten percent of employees between the ages of 25 and 49 look after a family member in need of care. We, too, support our employees as part of a new Works Agreement, as well as through advisory services, information evenings, support groups and mentoring programs in their often stressful tasks. In addition, we offer help in finding nursing services.

In all of these programs and measures, we consider it important to stay in regular contact with experts and to benefit across the whole Group from best practice examples. We intend to continue on this successful path: our goal is to strengthen our employees’ self-organization and to develop towards a results-oriented culture, rather than one based merely on working times.