United Way Partners are Proving Family-Friendly is Business-Friendly with Early Matters Greater Austin

Powered by United Way for Greater Austin and E3 Alliance, Early Matters Greater Austin (EMGA) is an alliance of Austin business leaders focused on the critical relationship between access to high-quality early education and our State’s long-term economic success. EMGA’s work is part of the collective impact initiative led by United Way, the Austin/Travis County Success By 6 Coalition.

Founded in 2018, Early Matters Greater Austin mobilizes and unites the business community around the goal that children in Greater Austin enter Kindergarten prepared for school success. EMGA also encourages Austin-area employers to adopt family-friendly policies because supportive workplace policies increase organization productivity and support the physical and emotional health of employees and their families. This pillar of the coalition’s work — known as Best Place for Working Parents™ — just concluded its 2021 open enrollment period in which 98 local businesses have been recognized as a 2021 Best Place for Working Parents™.

Businesses qualified for the designation by taking a first-of-its-kind self-assessment highlighting the 10 family-friendly policies that have research-proven benefits to businesses’ bottom line, and scoring high enough to qualify. Each question in the self-assessment ties to one of the below policies, which positively impact employee attraction, retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

You can find a full list of the 98 2021 Best Place for Working Parents businesses here. We are thrilled to see so many of our corporate partners on this list. Not only do they Live United, but are proving that family-friendly policies are business-friendly! Thank you for your dedication to make our community a place that works for everyone. 

We asked two of our partners, Nikki Graham of Bank of America and Priscilla Sauceda of Sauceda Industries, to share what it means to be a family-friendly workplace and how it positively impacts their bottom line. 

What family-friendly policy does your company have that you are most proud of?

Graham: I am so proud of Bank of America’s response to family challenges during the pandemic — including increasing our minimum pay rate to $20 per hour. Bank of America provided flexibility in childcare reimbursements, discounts on devices for virtual learning, and webinars and support services for parents with at-home learners.

Sauceda: This one is easy for me. Hands down I am most proud of our paid parental leave program. Offering paid parental leave to both mothers and fathers is something we’ve offered all full-time team members since 2017. I emphasize all full-time team members here, because typically when organizations offer a benefit like paid parental leave it’s reserved for salaried employees. But, that’s not the case at Sauceda. Supporting team members through life’s highs and lows is a big part of our culture and employee experience, and adding to your family is one of life’s greatest highs! It’s important to us that we offer that experience to all team members, regardless of whether you’re an hourly warehouse associate or a Director of Finance. 

What impact do you think your company’s family-friendly policies has on its employees, and what impact does it have on you personally? 

Sauceda: Our family-friendly policies are another way that we prove that we treat people like people. Our employees are not “resources” or “human capital”, they’re people. That may seem like semantics, but to us words are powerful and they matter. If our goal is to treat people like people that requires an intentional framework supported by policies that enables us to do that. Whether it’s allowing for schedule flexibility so that parents can pick up their child from school, or setting a team member up for remote work until they find high-quality childcare, we’re committed to working with our team members so that they feel supported as people. 

We don’t do this out of some grand altruistic motivations. Quite the opposite in fact. We set out to build a company and a community that we as owners wanted to come to every day. I’ve personally benefited from our flexible work schedule approach and paid parental leave, so the impact to me personally has been that I’ve been able to be there for my family. I’m trying to extend that experience to as many people as possible.

Why did you take the Best Place for Working Parents™ self-assessment, and why should other businesses do the same?

Graham: Supporting employees especially working parents is critical to how we operate at Bank of America. Many businesses do the same, and it’s important for all of us to tell our stories and share best practices.

In your opinion what does it mean to be a family-friendly workplace and why is it important?

Graham: More and more parents are in the workforce. This type of support for families gives people options so they don’t feel they need to choose between work and family. While work-life balance isn’t always attainable, it is important for employers to recognize the challenges faced by working parents and create the most family-friendly environments they can.

Sauceda: To me, being family-friendly means supporting parents so that they can support their families. That can mean a lot of different things, and it doesn’t always require a big financial investment. Being flexible and accommodating parent work schedules is a great example of that. Today a majority of households are double income families. We recognize that and are actively designing our workplace with that in mind. Again, for us, it goes back to treating people like people at scale and being family-friendly is one of the ways we do just that. 

Congratulations to all of the 2021 Best Place for Working Parents™  businesses! Thank you for helping make Austin a community where children and families can thrive.

It’s not too late to join the movement. Learn more today! 

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