Family Day Food for Thought
by Peter Mate, President of Planit Canada
I can still remember the feeling of hearing the news when one of our employees decided to move on and pursue another job. The grass seemed greener on the other side, and maybe it was. It always seems to happen just when you think you’ve got a handle on all the balls in the air you’ve been juggling.
At the same time, I was navigating my own work-life harmony struggles. Our household represented four people – but in that, two young children, two growing and bustling careers, and enough ear infections to go around. My wife and I know first-hand what it’s like to struggle in pulling off the balancing act as professionals and parents. With competing priorities, two workplaces to navigate, it was gut-wrenching trying to be there for everyone I loved at the same time. I couldn’t cure my daughter from her ear infection anymore than I could keep throwing money at team members in a bid to keep them. We all felt pulled in a million different directions.
A lot of the regular challenges young families face feel like an uphill battle. For me, my own struggle was a big part of my realization that as an employer, I had unique power. I could make mine a company where no employee ever had to feel guilty for taking off time to tend to their family. It was the first realization on a journey that has kept returning rewards every step of the way. I didn’t have to treat employees like other employers did. I could choose to create an environment that was better than any other company out there. In return, employees would be happier, less stressed, feel valued and productivity would grow. I began to treat our team like human beings – and not like numbers.
All of a sudden, employees stayed, we attracted top people, our company culture became like no other. As an employer, when you’ve got your employees’ backs, they make sure they have yours. The environment you create will dictate who you attract, how long they stay and how they perform in your business.
Today, it’s a no brainer. I’m proud to enable a culture of caring and professional growth because it’s the right thing to do and it makes good business sense. Employees put a lot of work into what they do for the company they work for. Employers should do everything they can to create a work environment that is fit for the best of the best. Only then will you attract and retain the best of the best.
In honor of Family Day, I hope that, if you’re reading this, you’re fortunate enough to work in an environment that empowers you to spend quality time with your family, to care for your loved ones, and tend to them as needed. I’m proud to have created a team of awesome people who work hard and are passionate about their work, and who get to enjoy their families to the fullest. And if you’re an employer, I hope that this inspires you to create a similar environment for your employees! In the end, everyone wins – I promise. Happy Family Day!