Every year Working Mother ranks its 100 Best Companies List. The publication looks at features like work flexibility, parental leave, and accommodations for nursing mothers, as well as overall health and other benefits.
The results are exciting, if they’re any indicator of what’s in store for more employers in the near future. Each on the 100 list offered flextime as well as telecommuting options for employees. They all also offered on-site lactation rooms, employee assistance, and paid maternity leave, among other great benefits. Others offered unique perks, like on-site dry cleaning, daycare services, and career counseling for employees, which only enhances these companies’ appeal to job seekers.
[See The 50 Best Careers of 2011.]
Better News for Mothers
While the Family and Medical Leave Act stipulates that employers must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave surrounding the birth of a baby, many of the companies on Working Mother’s list went above and beyond that requirement. Cisco ranked the highest, offering 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. And there’s good news for dads, too: 76 percent of these companies also offered paid paternity leave.
The majority of the companies on the list also offered prenatal education programs and adoption assistance to employees. That’s good news, since the 100 companies hired 169,943 women in the last year!
Getting Flexible at Work
While flextime is still slow to be adopted by smaller companies, in 2010, 4 percent more of the nation’s total employers offered flexible work schedules as an option to employees. Finalist Marriott International gives employees coupons to use to take off a part of a day (as few as two hours) for those appointments and long lunches. LEGO Systems lets employees decide how and when they work during a four-day workweek.
This is key, because as companies not yet offering flextime see the adoption, they too will come on board, giving you the chance to have some flexibility in your schedule.
Where Does Your Company Rank?
While we’d all love to have all the perks that the large corporations on this list offer on the job, it’s unlikely that you get them all. But that doesn’t mean things can’t change. If you want flextime, better maternity or health benefits or other job perks, talk to your boss about your ideas. Keep in mind there has to be a benefit for the company, so look for research (like the Working Mother report) that can back up the fact that workers with better perks are more productive. Get some of your co-workers on board as well, and present your ideas professionally, without emotion getting in the way.
If you want to telecommute or have more flextime, suggest a schedule that lets you get work done while others are not at work, so that when your boss comes in the office, that report he asked for is already waiting for him. Having more flexibility can help you on the personal front, as you can take your kids to school or make that soccer game in the early evening.
When it comes to benefits, you need to assess what’s really important to you. You can probably live without an on-site gym, but if you’re expecting to start a family, you might want to consider a working with a company that is family-friendly.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.