It’s not uncommon for accounting firms to describe themselves as “families,” but how often do firms engage with their employees’ real families?

Many of the Best Firms to Work For offer their employees plenty of flexibility to spend time with their families; they often invite family members to a fun, offsite firm event or two during the year; and many include them in seasonal flu shots or other benefits.

But a few go even further, reaching out to family members to make them feel more like a welcome part of the firm. At Arizona’s BeachFleischman, for instance, they invite family members in for a Saturday during busy season so their families can see where (and how hard) they work.

At Brown Smith Wallace in St. Louis, the firm’s annual report, which “shines light on each level and practice at our firm,” is mailed to employees’ homes specifically so they can share it with their families.

Oklahoma’s CCK Strategies, meanwhile, encourages family members to participate in local races and pays for their registration fees, and also encourages employees' families to participate with them in charity events such as food drives, bowling fundraisers, and volunteer events.

And at William Vaughan Co., in Ohio, the firm has equipped its employee lounge with a PlayStation, children’s books, a TV, tablets and other activities for when employees need to bring their children to the office. “Family members are always encouraged to come to the office to visit,” the firm reported, and it also offers employees’ teenage and college-aged children the first opportunity for employment if the firm has special projects.

Engaging employees’ families is often less a matter of policy than of personality, and the best examples are anecdotal – the managing partner who has toys in his desk for when employees’ children visit, or the teenager who was made to feel at home when they had to spend afternoons at the office after school – but they payoff in strong bonds and a heightened sense of “family” at work can be invaluable.

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