Working Mother’s annual 100 Best Companies list was released in late September. Companies on it range in size from just over 600 employees to 170,000 plus. Industries vary from advertising to law, healthcare to high tech and manufacturing. They are headquartered in every region of the United States. But they all have one thing in common: far-above-average programs and policies to support their employees’ physical and emotional welfare; work-life balance; and professional advancement. If you’re not on the list, chances are you’re lagging behind in some key GWIs (Great Workplace Indicators). That was the general message from Working Mother Media’s President, Subha Barry, at the WorkBeyond Summit a few weeks ago.
What’s a GWI? Well, first, it’s a term I just made up. But in concept, its something that’s been around a long time—it’s the extra-something to benefits, programs and policies that make an organization a great place to work. In this case, it’s the extra something that got 100 companies onto Working Mother’s annual “100 Best Companies” list in 2019.
Working Mother’s annual 100 Best Companies list was released in late September. Companies on it range in size from just over 600 employees to 170,000 plus. Industries vary from advertising to law, healthcare to high tech and manufacturing. They are headquartered in every region of the United States. But they all have one thing in common: far-above-average programs and policies to support their employees’ physical and emotional welfare; work-life balance; and professional advancement.
Companies applying for these lists are judged on literally hundreds of criteria, but at one of the summit breakouts Barry shouted-out a few, in particular. (National average figures below are based on data from the Society for Human Resource Management):
- 100 Best companies offer, on average, 11 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, compared to a national average of just 4 paid weeks. And for more than half of the 100 companies—57%—leave is gender neutral, meaning the amount of paid leave is the same for men and women.
- While an admittedly impressive 57% of all U.S. companies provide employees with at least a limited ability to flex their hours, fully 98% of 100 Best companies do this. 70% of U.S. companies allow employees to work at home on at least a limited basis, but this option is available at 99% of 100 Best companies.
- 94% of 100 Best companies provide their employees with back-up child care. This compares to only 4% of companies nationwide.
- 53% provide services to transport breast milk so nursing mothers can continue to express milk while on business travel. This simple but incredibly helpful service (there are vendors who specialize in it) is available at just 2% of companies nationwide. Plus, 50% of 100 Best companies have lactation consultants available to nursing moms 24/7, vs. just 11% of employers nationwide (for these 11% the service may or may not be available 24/7; SHRM doesn’t specify).
- 92% of the companies have programs to support employees whose children are on the autism spectrum; 77% have programs supporting employees whose children have cancer. I can’t find nationwide figures for how many companies overall have programs such as these, but it’s a safe bet that the percentage is a whole lot lower.
There are, as I mentioned, many dozens more criteria that are considered before an organization can achieve recognition on this prestigious list. Demographics are considered—how diverse are the upper ranks of the organization, and the board? Professional development, including not just training programs but mentoring and sponsorship—especially those aimed at women—is a key factor. Overall work-life supports, such as concierge programs, are taken into account. Pay equity and other aspects of fairness are examined. And so on.
All of this means that companies getting onto the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list support their employees in a wide range of diverse ways; there is no one way of being a great workplace. All we can say for sure is that, taken together, they represent a gold standard of employee support, setting a high but admirable bar for everyone else.
Think your company may have what it takes to be a Working Mother Best Company? Let me help you tell your story on that or another great workplace application!
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