How to Build a Family-Friendly Workforce


While the benefits of family-friendly workplaces are abundantly clear to some, others may not be able to see the connection or benefit to their business, workplace, or situation. The key to a stronger economy for all North Carolinians means investing in our workforce, and that calls for workplace policies that support children and working families. Family-friendly policies help grow and support our communities as a whole, and their impact might be greater than you think. 

Chris Chung, Chief Executive Officer at Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), helps explain how family-friendly workplaces and child care support help support workforce development, both now and in the future. EDPNC is a Family Forward NC Certified Employer!

“‘Workforce support’ is an issue that doesn’t get the attention it should; just like educational attainment or experience, the availability of workforce support is one of those factors that can oftentimes determine the ability of each individual to participate meaningfully in the economy as part of the labor force. For example, even if someone has a relevant degree or applicable experience that an employer is seeking, let’s say that individual has no access to a cost-effective, quality child care provider. All of a sudden, now that individual may be choosing between taking a particular job or staying home to tend to their child. Minimizing the number of individuals forced to choose between these two options is one strategy for ensuring employers have as large a workforce as possible to hire from. That’s good from an economic development standpoint, not to mention all the benefits to the child of receiving quality care, education, etc.”

We can all take a critical look at the policies and procedures of our workplaces and organizations and assess how they are supporting or challenging our working families. While it can feel daunting to update our ways of doing business, Family Forward NC knows it’s a worthwhile effort that’s within reach. 

“Companies are experts at making a particular product or providing a particular service; they may not be as knowledgeable on what it takes to design a ‘family-friendly workplace’ or even why it’s important for them to consider that approach as an employee recruitment and retention strategy,” Chung says. “That’s where efforts like Family Forward NC can really help companies to figure out good solutions—especially smaller businesses that may not realize that some of these family-friendly workplace initiatives can actually be easier or more economical to implement than they realize.

Read our full 2021 interview with Chris Chung.

Despite their different industries and perspectives, Chris Chung and fellow NCECF board member, Nina Smith, Associate Dean of the College of Health and Sciences at North Carolina Central University, advocate for the same family-friendly support. The interconnectedness of this work is hard to deny. When we really stop to consider it, we can start to see how our own industries and situations are impacted by the health and well-being (or lack thereof) of children and families, and where we might be able to advocate for more supportive policies.  Let us help you move closer to a family-friendly workplace. Learn more about certification here.