Atlantic Hotel Sail City Bremerhaven
Bremen, 2 February 2016 – This year, Bremen once again held a special event to highlight its status as a family-aware business location: the "Award ceremony – 10 years of family-friendly personnel policy in the State of Bremen".
Under the patronage of Martin Günthner, the Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports, acting in cooperation with Rena Fehre and Kerstin Purnhagen, co-directors of the ‘Impulsgeber Zukunft’ association, a total of 25 companies were honoured with the festive presentation at the Town Hall on Thursday, 4 February 2016, of a certificate for their successful family-friendly personnel policy. The companies had previously completed the consulting and development process of the ‘berufundfamilie®’ audit and/or the ‘AUSGEZEICHNET FAMILIENFREUNDLICH’ regional label.
In his welcome address, Senator Martin Günthner emphasized that "family-friendliness has become something of a tradition in Bremen. We are documenting this tradition for the first time today with the regional ‘AUSGEZEICHNET FAMILIENFREUNDLICH’ award developed by the "Impulsgeber Zukunft" institution in collaboration with the Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports as well as the Chamber of Commerce for Bremen. Through the many years spent in the thorough implementation of family-work reconciliation within the State of Bremen, family-friendliness has become a location branding factor", said Martin Günthner.
Ms. Wiebke Hamm, Vice-President of the ‘Bremen Chamber of Commerce - CCI for Bremen and Bremerhaven’, underlined in her address above all that reconcilability was a forward-looking topic, because "the productivity efforts of companies and the personal aspirations of the employees must be harmonized." "A favourable economic development of the firms is dependent upon the talents, know-how and skills of the staff members", she added.
Felix Levold, Managing Director of the company ‘BEGO Bremer Goldschlägerei Wilh. Herbst GmbH & Co. KG’ emphasized clearly in his interview with Ms. Purnhagen that "a family-aware personnel policy furthers the job satisfaction and motivation of the workforce as much as it increases the quality of work, which in turn has a positive influence on business performance". In the same vein, Mr. Levold asserted that
"the costs arising for instance for the improvement of working time concepts or the extension of health management are considerably and demonstrably lower than the costs resulting from employee replacement, absences or staff turnover". It was also of great interest for companies to take a broader view: What do future employees of the new Generation Y expect in life? "The desires of the staff members for more individualized solutions in respect of increasingly flexible work organization and, on the other hand, the striving of corporations towards lean, versatile and customer-focused solutions will constitute one of the greatest challenges of tomorrow", said Mr. Levold.
Ms. Claudia Kessler, Managing Director of HE Space Operations GmbH – a recruitment company for highly qualified staff in the space industry – explained most vividly in her interview with Ms. Fehre how comprehensively family-friendliness is embedded in the corporate culture of HE Space. There is a parent-child room for emergencies, while a wide variety of flexible working time models explicitly make it possible for women and men to pursue active career development. As a very special event, HE Space organized the first Space Camp in Bremen for children aged 11-14. The aim of this offering is to generate interest and enthusiasm in the children for the fascinating world of spaceflight, the science behind it and engaging technical careers in this sector. "Space Camp makes a major contribution towards better reconciliation of work and family life, because it is held during the summer vacation and can be used by our staff as well as other parents as a form of holiday care. This is very convenient, because the summer holidays are 6 weeks long and few parents can take such an extended vacation," Ms. Kessler pointed out.
Both interviews also showed clearly: It is not only the employees who stand to benefit from the reconciliation policy in companies, but also the organizations themselves. The experience of the enterprises shows that family-friendliness helps to reduce absence periods and enhance motivation and, with it, productivity. Reconciliation of work and family life is therefore also an important point in attracting the best talent.
Thanks to the work of the Impulsgeber Zukunft, Bremen is the federal state with the highest density of firms acclaimed as being family-friendly. And the offerings are as varied as the companies themselves, as portrayed by Kerstin Purnhagen and Rena Fehre, the co-directors of Impulsgeber Zukunft, in their presentation.
Of the known family-friendly arrangements – ranging from flexible working hours, company-supported child care and special children’s holiday programmes up to monthly subsidies for child care, home office and household-related services for employees (such as canteen meals for the home, acceptance of private parcels, and a laundry service for personal clothing) – all are well represented and undergoing constant development, the two experts reported.
Both today and tomorrow, it is very important to support the employees with the reconcilability of family care by recognizing their needs and freeing the topic from taboos. In the process, it has become clear that a life-phase oriented personnel policy is increasingly coming into the focus of attention and thus considering all employees throughout their various life phases – and with most diverse reconcilability aspects.
What makes Bremen so successful in this regard? “We are close to the companies – together, we search for and find tailor-made, individual solutions. For medium-sized enterprises, low-threshold offerings with a process and solution orientation are needed,” said Kerstin Purnhagen. This is signified by the new ‘AUSGEZEICHNET FAMILIENFREUNDLICH’ label.
The subsequent exhibition in the banquet hall, showing examples of good practice, was as varied as the companies themselves – as were also the experience reports in the freshly printed brochure with over 40 companies and institutions.
The following companies were distinguished by being awarded the certificate by the State of Bremen.
Regional label ‘AUSGEZEICHNET FAMILIENFREUNDLICH’
Non-profit HERTIE Foundation ‘audit beruf und familie’ ®