No Evil Foods has a simple mission: to build a healthier, more sustainable, and cruelty-free future through plant-based meats that fuel a better food system. Their product has quickly moved from booths at local farmer’s markets in western North Carolina to over 5,500 stores in all 50 states. As their business has expanded, co-founders Sadrah Schadel and Mike Woliansky know they needed to provide for an expanding workforce, investing in benefits programs that support their team members.
One such program is the parental leave program. This gender neutral benefit supports all parents and includes 12 weeks of parental leave (6 weeks paid, 6 weeks unpaid) applied to all parents. “I’m a parent and I co-founded this company with my partner and father of my children,” says Schadel, “and I know how challenging it is to do anything else in life when you’ve got little ones at home.” Schadel explains it’s important to her and the company’s mission that employees from the production line to the sales team know that this benefit is available to them.
“If we can provide more equitable and family-friendly policies, that’s one of the ways we can positively impact people’s lives,” says Schadel.
Production line team member Tucker Waldron is one employee feeling those positive impacts. Waldron was expecting his first child when he found out No Evil Foods had extended their family leave program. “It was just a big relief,” says Waldron, “It was a weight off our shoulders. Honestly, I can’t picture having to go back after just two weeks.”
Having this extra time with his growing family was also invaluable for Production Supervisor Steven Hewlett. “I can’t overstate how awesome and amazing and helpful it was to be able to spend that time at home with a new baby,” says Hewlett, “The difference between one to three weeks and six to nine weeks is just incredible. There are so many milestones with the baby and being able to be present for those was really nice.”
Both men added that the new parental leave policy provided their families with invaluable peace of mind because they were able to help their wives recover and settle in without the worry of the next paycheck over their heads. “I can’t describe how much it meant to me to have that time without having to worry about the financial side of things,” says Hewlett.
This policy also lets the workers at No Evil Foods know that their company values them as a whole person.
“We need to rethink how we do business and encourage shifting priorities,” says Schadel, “If we’re just focused on doing business as usual and not taking the whole person into account, then we’re not fulfilling our roles as employers.”
And those at No Evil Foods know that these types of family-friendly benefits also benefit the business with lower turnover and greater employee engagement.
“You have to lead with your heart,” she says, “The business can’t just be about business. You have to take the needs of your people into account just as much as anything else.”
Sample benefits: No Evil Foods
- Living Wages – Production employees earn, on average, $17 an hour
- Urgent Care Program Starting Day One – The cost of visiting Range Urgent Care is covered 100%
- Affordable Health Insurance – A large portion of premiums are covered
- Shoe Stipend – A program to cover the cost of work shoes
- 10 Holidays a Year – Two are flex holidays to allow staff to observe their own high holidays, no matter their religion
- Paid Time Off – A week and a half accrued in the first year
- Paid Parental Leave – Six weeks paid; six weeks unpaid