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Message from the Deputy CEO – 9 October 2018

October 09, 2018

You may be wondering why you’re hearing from me today instead of Dominique?

The newest addition to the National Retail Association clan – Dominique’s and husband Tony’s first baby, Wilhelmina – made her grand entrance into the world a little earlier than expected late last week, weighing in at 7lb 7oz and measuring a petite 50cm.

After a breezy eight and a half months for Dom, Wilhelmina is proving to be just as easy-going now she’s arrived – sleeping and feeding well thus far, and allowing mum to grab as many winks as possible while she recovers in hospital.

It may surprise you to know however, that sweet little ‘Minnie’ actually hails from a long line of savvy, female retailers.

As a self-confessed ‘child of retail’ Dom often chuckles about dressing up as a clown and handing out flyers as part of her own mother’s crazy marketing strategies for her retail business back in the 1980s and 90s.

She also remembers how hard her immigrant grandmother worked in her own food and hospitality business – no mean feat in an era when many women had to ask their husband’s permission to even have a job, let alone be considered for a business loan.

More than half a century on, I’m sure these past generations of women must take great pride in the role they played in creating the far more flexible workplaces we have today, where management and staff are often well-supported in striking a healthy work/ life balance.

These are the changes that mean women are able to start families without sacrificing their own career progression, and that all parents and carers, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to share their family responsibilities in a more equitable way.

A report by recruitment site SEEK suggests that work/life balance is now a top three driver for both genders, and in every industry – not just retail.

But when there really is no delineation between work and home anymore (hello emails on the go, bright red notifications on our app-filled phones and dealing with work social media during dinner parties), what does it actually mean for those employers who are trying to flexi things up, in order to attract the top talent?

Creating better work/life balance for your employees can actually take many forms, so there’s certainly no ‘one size fits all approach’.

It can involve larger offerings – such as running terrific parental leave programs or investing in continual training and learning courses for strong career development, to offering strong and structured mentorship within the business.

Or it can be something as simple as providing work-from-home options (in businesses where it’s feasible), or giving employees more options around how they choose their work hours so they can fit in a specific class or do the school run with a bit more wiggle room.

With the high cost involved in staff turnover, it makes sense for all employers to create environments that can attract, and retain, the best and most innovative employees.

What programs are you running in your business? Or how have you worked with your staff to create more flexible environments, to help them (and hopefully, you!) achieve realistic work/life balance?

If you’re doing something unique in the space, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch and share how you’re creating workplaces of the future, via nra.net.au.

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