This article by Antionette Kerr originally appeared on the Public News Service website. For the original, click here.
More than 1,000 North Carolina employers and employees weighed in on policies that benefit businesses, workers and children for a new guide produced by Family Forward NC, an initiative of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation.
Tracy Zimmerman, executive director at the foundation, said part of the goal is to keep North Carolina businesses competitive by increasing access to research-based practices that help working families – such as paid parental leave, support for breastfeeding mothers and flexible work schedules.
“We are really excited about this new guide that will help employers of all sizes think about how to provide family-friendly policies and practices that have evidence in both showing improvements in business, as well as improving child outcomes,” Zimmerman said.
She cited research in which 73 percent of workers in North Carolina said they would be “more committed” to their employer if the company offered more family-friendly practices. The “Guide to Family Forward Workplaces” offers recommendations and encourages employers to collaborate with workers on workplace policies.
Professor Nina Smith of North Carolina Central University served as research adviser for the guide. She said practices such as paid sick leave increase productivity, decrease job turnover and provide a healthier work environment.
“Employers need to think of it as an investment. There are many long-term benefits to both the company and its employees,” Smith said. “So, employers are happier, they’re more productive; overall retention of employees is increased – and then, the home environment is also improved.”
Joe Mecca, vice president of communication with the Coastal Credit Union, said his company has taken the recommendations to heart. After implementing strategies for wellness, fitness and shared giving for those in need, he said the focus on employees’ well-being has paid off.
“We put employees as one of the pillars of our success. If we take excellent care of our employees, then our employees will take excellent care of our members, and the financials will take care of themselves,” Mecca said. “And we saw that. We put a lot more into our employees over the last couple of years. This past year, we saw record earnings.”
The “Guide to Family Forward Workplaces” will be posted online at FamilyForwardNC.com.