Public News Service: Summit Aims to Boost Family-Friendly NC Businesses

North Carolina

The following is a story by Antionette Kerr that originally appear on the Public News Service website. Click here for the original story.

Family-friendly practices in the workplace are big business, and a best-selling author will have advice for creating a family-friendly workplace at a conference in Raleigh. 

Brigid Schulte is the keynote speaker for the first-ever Family Forward Summit on April 1. Schulte is director of New America’s Better Life Lab, a nonpartisan initiative on creating a better work-life balance. Her book, “Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time,” highlights research about productivity in family-friendly work environments. 

“So many of our work environments, our policies, we’ve kind of done things that way because we’ve always done them that way,” Schulte said. “But a lot of them were sort of grounded in a time before technology, even before the workforce really changed.”

Hosted by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, the summit aims to help businesses attract and retain the best talent by implementing research-based practices. Topics will include paid time off, health insurance and retirement benefits, flexible work schedules, breastfeeding support and affordable childcare.

The summit was sparked by a survey in which 62 percent of North Carolina employers said family-friendly policies help them attract and retain better workers. Lisa Finaldi, community engagement leader with the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, said those policies can also give companies a competitive edge. 

“It’s getting much more difficult for business to retain talent and also attract the best people,” Finalidi said. “And so we’re finding that companies are becoming interested in what are the kinds of things that they can do.”

The same survey showed that more than one-third of employers who did not offer family-friendly benefits said they want to add accommodations for working mothers. Schulte said that’s one topic she intends to address at the conference.

“People think that working mothers are not are not as committed or don’t do as good a job,” Schulte said. “Fathers tend to get a bonus when they become fathers, and mothers tend to get sort of dinged. They don’t get promotions, they might not get the same amount of pay. And yet, it’s really clear that when you look at productivity, working mothers are amazing.”

More information about the Family Forward Summit is available online at