Beyond roles: The evolving commitment of fathers

Modern fatherhood demands a profound commitment to balance career demands with family responsibilities.
By: | September 12, 2023

Fatherhood today is more than just a role; it is a commitment. Fathers today are acutely aware of the imperative to actively engage in their children’s lives while effectively managing the demands of both their professional careers and family responsibilities. However, the intricate tasks of harmonising work obligations with familial commitments presents a challenge. Many fathers grapple with the repercussions of stress and burnout, which, in turn, can undermine their efficacy both within the home and the workplace.

To address these challenges and support working fathers in their multifaceted roles, organisations must cultivate a leadership culture that embraces a holistic approach to employee wellbeing. Take, for example, the experience of City Developments Limited (CDL), where the recognition of leadership’s role in shaping a culture of happiness and engagement is exemplified through their commitment to championing a people-first approach.

Speaking with HRM Asia, Lilian Tan, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, CDL, said, “Our leaders are deeply committed to understanding the needs, wants, and perceptions of our employees through ongoing engagement efforts. We facilitate this through diverse platforms, including informal gatherings, town hall sessions, and regular employee engagement surveys. By maintaining clear and transparent communication regarding the organisation’s direction and goals, coupled with a proactive approach to acting upon feedback, our employees feel valued and connected as integral members of our journey.”

CDL prioritised fostering profound and meaningful connections among their workforce through initiatives designed to optimise holistic wellbeing, encompassing physical, mental, and social facets. Each month, employees could anticipate participation in at least one programme that not only connects them with colleagues but also encourages self-care and enhances their overall quality of life. An example Tan shared was their edible soilless green wall, which encourages inter-department collaboration in cultivating and harvesting vegetables for consumption. This initiative, she added, extends beyond teamwork; it also promotes healthier eating habits while strengthening employees’ understanding of the produce they grow.

Since 2020, the Singapore-headquartered property and real estate organisation has been offering male employees four weeks of paternity leave, surpassing the national standard of two weeks. The organisation also provides flexibility with flex time, flex place, and flex load options, allowing employees to tailor their work arrangements to suit their individual or familial needs.

Initiatives like Eat With Your Family Day by Centre for Fathering (CFF), family movie nights, bring-your-kids-to-work events, and family outings for charitable causes, fostered a culture that celebrated the significance of family life.

CDL’s commitment to these initiatives has earned them the title of Great Companies for Dads Awards winners not once, but twice—first in 2021 and then again in 2023. Tan continued, “Receiving the Great Companies for Dads Awards for the second time underscores CDL’s steadfast commitment to fostering a family-friendly environment and supporting our valued employees who are also fathers. This recognition speaks volumes about our dedication to promoting gender equality by recognising and encouraging active fatherhood participation in family life.”

The Great Companies for Dads Awards was launched in 2021 by President Halimah Yacob to honour the importance of supporting working fathers. Organised by CFF, Dads for Life and Mums for Life, the award aims to celebrate organisations that embrace family-centric policies and programmes, empowering fathers to excel in both the workplace and their roles as dedicated fathers.

Laura Hwang, who has served on the judging panel for the Great Companies for Dads Awards both in 2021 and 2023, and was previously a Board Director of CFF, said, “Organisations that have been outstanding in the past, have been the ones who consider the welfare of their employees and value them for their contributions to the organisation and to society in general, including their own families.”

READ MORE: Creating a great place to work with a people-first workplace culture

She underscored the significance of engaging multiple stakeholders when organisations aim to prioritise employee wellbeing and engagement, particularly in the context of active parenthood. She recommended engaging with not only employees themselves but also their spouses and children, particularly those of key employees, adding that these insights are invaluable for understanding how to complement and enhance family relations and interactions. “The family is a dynamic of teamwork, so to listen to all team members would be best,” she concluded.

Great Companies for Dads Awards 2024 is now open for nominations until 15 October 2023. To learn more and participate, click here