In addition to the paid time off, staff also receive adoption assistance, including reimbursement of agency and travel fees and legal assistance. And for nursing mothers, BCHD has dedicated space for regular pumping for those without a closed office space and store milk in communal refrigerators.
BCHD prides itself on giving staff the flexibility they need to dedicate time to family and self-development. It provides educational assistance, such as up to $4,000 in tuition reimbursement for staff working a minimum of 30 hours per week.
That’s a benefit Vixie knows firsthand. When she was a volunteer service coordinator in 2007, she returned to school to receive her master’s degree in public administration and the health district was more than accommodating.
“They worked with me in terms of timing, schedule, balancing hours,” she said. “I was able to use the health district for projects, which was also super helpful.”
Regular communication and checkups between leadership and staff are always beneficial. But as a wellness-focused organization, BCHD wants to provide staff with tools to help themselves find that work/life balance on their own.
“Some might bite off more than they can chew, but we must be consistently aware of their state of mind,” Vixie said. “We want them to be at their most productive but not stressed, so we offer training and education workshops so they’re aware of work/life balance and don’t become overworked and burned out.”
Flexibility and communication with staff are necessities for any employer trying to create a family-friendly work environment. At Talent Plus, a global human resources consulting firm based in Lincoln, Neb., leadership knows that if they stay true to those principles, it will lead to happy and productive associates, said Cydney Koukol, chief communication officer.
With the proliferation of technology enabling work from anywhere at any time, Koukol said people can work more but they need to work smarter. Working from home is not frowned upon by managers. In some situations, like a looming snowstorm, or when the employee needs to be at home for personal reasons, it’s encouraged. “Just communicate with the team when you need that time away,” she said.
Talent Plus offers summer and after-school programs for children of employees, too. And along with lactation facilities for new mothers, they are also given supplies for a breast pump in a gift bag on their desk when they return to work.