This study investigates the influence of work–family programs on employee role performance and suggests that work–family facilitation mediates this relationship. The study then broadens to consider whether gender has an influence on the relationship. The results show that work–family programs benefit employee role performance by improving work–family facilitation. Moreover, the way in which work–family programs benefit role performance varies with employees’ gender – that is, the relationship among work–family programs, work–family facilitation and role performance is stronger for female employees. The findings support the effectiveness of work–family programs and highlight the importance for management to make them accessible to all employees for greater competitiveness. The study makes suggestions for future research and discusses implications for practice. Key points: This research examines the relationship among work–family programs, work–family facilitation, and employee role performance.Gender as a moderator is adopted to investigate if differences exist between female and male employees. Results found that female employee performance was more positively influenced by the work–family programs and work–family facilitation than male employees. The effectiveness of work–family programs need to be activated by organizations to support individual employees.