How your local business could change the future by becoming Fostering Friendly

Fostering Friendly is The Fostering Network's programme to encourage employers to support fostering, and in particular, foster carers. Following our recent fostering friendly sign up in Firmstep, we are currently offering free talks to Buckinghamshire businesses who wish to hear more about becoming a fostering friendly employer and/or to any of their employees who would like to know what fostering actually involves.

We are all aware of the basic brand reputational advantages of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Today, 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies that take an interest in our world and philanthropic aims, while 65% of Fortune 500 companies work with a variety of charities to offer matching gift programs. In addition, partnering with a not-for-profit organisation presents an alternative avenue to attract and retain investors and bolster staff engagement.

More than ever before, we live in a world of changing attitudes. At some point in their careers, the mainstay of employees will seek an opportunity to play their part as citizens of the planet and achieve a better work-life balance in the process. Many choose long sabbaticals or new career paths to satisfy this growing desire to do their part.

However, with the right flexibility and support businesses can easily facilitate their staff in accomplishing these aspirations, whilst meeting with the growing consumer demand to purchase from a brand of good conscience.

We have come a long way in understanding the ‘brand to employee, employee to consumer’ dynamics over the last few years. 2019’s most successful organisations have discovered the multifaceted returns associated with offering flexible working at the office and at home, hours that suit employee’s personal and professional schedules, and a good mental health support in the workspace programme.

At some point in their careers, the mainstay of employees will seek an opportunity to play their part as citizens of the planet and achieve a better work-life balance in the process. Many choose long sabbaticals or new career paths to satisfy this growing desire to do their part. However, with the right CSR (corporate social responsibility) offering, businesses can easily facilitate their staff in accomplishing these aspirations. Buckinghamshire businesses interested in becoming Fostering Friendly Employers will discover the benefits of CSR to public image, increased media coverage and a fresh road to staff contentment. However, we still have a few misconceptions to dispel around this particular option...

The myths vs. the facts

Myth 1: Becoming a Fostering Friendly Employer will place pressure on the time and resources of your staff base.

In reality, the select few amongst your staff who will choose and be chosen to foster will require decidedly less concessions than you might think. A good option for businesses who want to be Fostering Friendly is to offer a simple arrangement of allowing staff the flexibility to conduct the school run, before completing the remainder of their working hours at home

Myth 2: The transition to becoming a Fostering Friendly Employer is a big commitment.

If you’re not ready to become a Fostering Friendly Employer right away, you can start by becoming a Fostering Champion and help to spread the word about fostering and supporting vulnerable young people in Buckinghamshire.

Fact: The small number of your employees who choose to become a foster carer shouldn’t affect your business but every single new carer will really help us.

Right now, Buckinghamshire County Council has over 500 looked-after children in its care, but is only able to place half of these children within the local area - whilst some of these cases are an intentional relocation, many come down to the availability of carers. One of the key credentials of a foster carer is having the flexibility to collect a child from daycare or school; many applicants struggle to get past this first hurdle. Becoming a Fostering Friendly employer will make a huge difference in helping us look after our foster children locally!

National brands are already on board…

There are many worthwhile causes available that will fulfil your CSR credentials. However, few will empower your employees, speak to your customer base, and carry such local appeal as Fostering with Bucks. Leading brands Tesco, Asda, Boots and Sainsbury’s have rolled out the Fostering Friendly scheme nationally. The Buckinghamshire-based Marlow 4U group of churches have already signed up.

However, this is not the only way local businesses can change a foster child’s future. We are grateful to any Buckinghamshire business that are able to offer discounts to our dedicated team of foster carers, or act as an ambassador to our recruitment mission by simply putting up a poster or sharing our social media posts.

To discuss a bespoke Fostering Friendly plan that will complement your business culture and employee relations, get in touch for an informal chat via 01296 382444 or communications@buckscc.gov.uk. Visit the Foster with Bucks Facebook page here.

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