This article is a staff report that originally appeared in The Daily Reflector. For the original article, click here.
A Greenville pharmaceutical manufacturing executive will join other prominent business and community leaders and health experts from across North Carolina who hope to inspire employers to incorporate more family-friendly practices for their employees.
Between now and December, the Family Forward N.C. Advisory Council will assist the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) to further the work of Family Forward NC, a business-led initiative to increase access to research-based, family-friendly business practices aimed at improving workplace productivity, recruitment and retention, supporting children’s healthy development and growing a strong economy.
Andrew Herdman, vice president of human resources for Mayne Pharma U.S. operations, will have a seat on the council alongside Kit Cramer, president of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and others.
“Mayne Pharma, and Metrics before it, have a long legacy of taking a balanced view, and we understand clearly that the research abounds showing that people who are happy and balanced are more productive and more likely to stay around,” Herdman said after the council was announced. “More and more we’re witnessing that people aren’t just contemplating the paycheck, but are seeking out organizations that provide flexibility and the space to attend to things that are important to their lives outside of work.”
Herdman pointed to several opportunities his company provides for employees to more smoothly blend their work lives in with the priorities in their personal lives. Mayne and Metrics provide a full 12 weeks paid time off for maternity leave for female employees and up to four weeks for new fathers.
“The tradeoff is significant for the investment we make in people, and the positive feedback has been overwhelming,” Herdman said. “Even people who are past being able to qualify for that benefit see its value as a symbolic indicator of the relative worth of the employees and the company’s strategic orientation.”
Herdman said the company’s position on employee value is a legacy from Phil Hodges, who co-founded Metrics.
“We never were clock watchers here. If you treat people like adults and give them a fun place to work and space to operate, they typically will reciprocate,” he said.
Cramer, said it is important for businesses to consider family-friendly practices in the short term to attract and retain employees and to positively impact the workforce in the long run.
“Family-friendly benefits are a win-win; they help businesses attract and retain top talent, which is vitally important in today’s tight labor market, and they also lead to significant positive health outcomes for children, who are the future of our workforce,” Cramer said.
Joining Cramer and Herdman on the Family Forward N.C. Advisory Council are:
Velva Jenkins, vice president of continuing education, economic and workforce development at Brunswick Community College; Jessica Lowery Clark, executive director of the Robeson County Partnership for Children; Fara Palumbo, chief people officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; Luis Pastor, president and CEO of the Cooperativa Latino Credit Union; Dr. Alison Stuebe, associate professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Maternal and Child Health at UNC-Chapel Hill; Sheilah Sutton, Rolesville city commissioner; Lucy Talley, regional vice president of South Atlantic Publishing Group, GateHouse Media; and Dr. Betsey Tilson, N.C. health director and chief medical officer of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Resources.”
Tracy Zimmerman, North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation executive director, said her organization is grateful to have a powerhouse group of leaders guiding the work.
“Family-friendly workplaces are a win for everyone,” Zimmerman said. “They support young children’s healthy development, and they make businesses more competitive. The contribution of these leaders will be invaluable in making North Carolina a state that businesses want to come to, where families want to live and where employees want to work.”
Family Forward NC is an innovative business initiative to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina’s businesses competitive. Learn more at www.familyforwardnc.com.
NCECF works to provide North Carolina children a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being and promotes public understanding of and support for policies that promote children’s birth-to-age-eight years for academic and lifelong success. Learn more at http://www.buildthefoundation.org.