Integritive’s own John Miles was featured in a recent WNC Parent Article titled “Family-Friendly workplaces go beyond typical policies” by Paul Clark
Flexible work options? Paid family leave? Some businesses are more family friendly than others.
Some, especially small businesses run by parents, let employees bring their children to work on snow days. And some go as far as to reimburse parents for the costs of adoptions.
Jodi Rhoden had to miss a lot of time at her business, Short Street Cakes in West Asheville, because of her son’s snow and sick days. The experience prompted her to extend a benefit to other workers, giving them an hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. The paid time off, which amounts to about a week’s worth of work a year, can be used to take care of a sick child and is an unusual benefit for hourly workers in the food industry, Rhoden said. But Short Street Cakes already pays its workers a certified living wage, so this furthers its appreciation of them, she said.
“If you’re losing hours because your child is sick, it’s hard on the family budget,” she said.
John Miles is CEO of Integritive, a website design and social media marketing agency in Asheville. But, more importantly, he’s a father. “Our business is 13 years old, and our ethos over all is the family comes first,” he said.
One employee at Integritive works half a day from home during summer so as to tag-team child care duties with the spouse. The employee knows what’s expected, performance-wise, Miles said.
“There’s an ethos here that if your kid is sick or there’s a school event or performance, you can make up the time at another time,” Miles said. That may mean working at night or during part of a weekend but it’s better than disappointing your child, he said.
“From my perspective, if the family is happy and taken care of, people will be happier in the workplace, ” he said. “If your mindset is, I’m missing my kid’s lacrosse game, your work probably won’t be as high quality. I’ve seen families where work was first, and the look on the kids’ faces was one of neglect. You won’t get to your deathbed wishing you had worked more. You’ll wish you had spent more time with family. I want to have a clean slate.”
He leaves work early on Mondays to coach his son’s lacrosse team. He wouldn’t miss it for the world, he said. Workers at Integritive are invited to bring a child on whatever permutation of Bring Your Daughter to Work Day applies. It’s good for the child to see what his or her parent does all day, and it’s good for the parent to know that their child understands, Miles said.
“Generally, the little kids don’t last the whole day,” he said. “We’ve had kids make smoothies for everyone and answer the phone for an hour. It gives them a taste of what their parents’ lives are like.”
With 330 employees in the Carolinas, HomeTrust Bank doesn’t have family-friendly policies per se, but that’s because it is family friendly, said its employment specials Sara Phillips.
“The culture here is warm, kind and caring,” she said. “A lot of us have seen each other’s families expand and the children grow up through the years. That creates a special bond.”
Employees at HomeTrust may use paid time off to care for their children or parents. The bank pays for short- and long-term disability insurance for workers, which allows new mothers to have some income while they’re out with newborns. Through the North Carolina Bankers Association, it offers a scholarship program that helps children of employees attend college. Tuition reimbursement for its workers allows them to set good examples to their children that pursuing additional education is a valuable thing to do, Philips said.
“But more than anything, we provide employees with a safe, stable, happy environment where they can make a good living and leave at 5 p.m. to spend the rest of their time with their families. At 5 p.m., the work is done,” she said. “We celebrate each others family milestones and achievements. Just yesterday I got an invitation for an employee’s baby shower.”