Local businesses recognized as "family friendly" workplaces

By: Mariel Carbone
April 11, 2017

Courtesy: MGN

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.(WCTV)-- The Mayor’s Office, along with the Family Friendly Workplace Task Force recognized businesses in the community which rank high for accommodating families, Tuesday night.

More than 100 local business owners took part in an online survey promoted by the Task Force to gauge just how family friendly they are. Following the survey, businesses were rated on a five star system, with five stars, being the most “family friendly.” Of the businesses that participated, about 50 were rated as three star, or higher.

Only four businesses were rated as a five star business. Those include The Taproot Agency, Mainline Information Systems, FSU Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy and the City of Tallahassee.

To achieve a five star rating, businesses must have high scores across the board on the survey. Some of the questions focused on topics such as 'do you allow children in the work place?' and 'do you offer staff retreats?'

Participants among the top 50 said that being a "family friendly" work place is very important to them.

"We present our taproom as a welcoming and safe space for our patrons, but we also view internally, that that's just as important," said Gabe Grass, Founder of Grasslands Brewing Company.

He said his business holds group outings to "blow off steam," and offers a 401K and health benefits to accomodate his employees; anything to make the work environment less stressful.

"If you take care of your employees, they'll take care of you. Same thing with family members, we treat all of our employees like family members," he said.

Likewise, Don Wilson of Westminster Oaks said he focuses on offering an extensive wellness program to employees. That includes social, intellectual, physical, mental wellness and more.

"If we keep our employees well, they'll take better care of our other family, our residents. And, be in better shape to take care of their family," said Wilson.

He noted that during Hurricane Hermine, he allowed employees to bring children, family members and pets to work so they felt their family was safe.

Mayor Andrew Gillum said the goal of the program is to better invest in children and families, and attract the best and brightest to the Capital City.

“This effort will not only celebrate local businesses and employers who are going above and beyond to support their employees, but it will also help us to retain talent by branding our City as one of the best places to work in Florida,” said Mayor Gillum. “This task force has done some incredible work to help our community understand that what is good
for children and families, is also good for business.”

But, the work doesn't just end with the rating system. The Task Force will launch a mentorship program next to help businesses improve on some of these measures.


By: Mariel Carbone
April 11, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)—The Mayor’s Office, along with the Family Friendly Workplace Task Force will recognize businesses in the community which rank high for accommodating families, Tuesday night.

More than 100 local business owners have taken part in an online survey promoted by the task force to gauge just how family friendly they are. Following the survey, businesses will be rated on a five star system, with five stars, being the most “family friendly.”

Business are judged on items including how easy it is to balance family and work, and the ability to fulfill both work and family obligations. Organizers hope the initiative will help business owners evaluate and improve their family friendly practices and culture.

Mayor Gillum says the goal of the program is to better invest in children and families, and attract the best and brightest to the Capital City.

“This effort will not only celebrate local businesses and employers who are going above and beyond to support their employees, but it will also help us to retain talent by branding our City as one of the best places to work in Florida,” said Mayor Gillum. “This task force has done some incredible work to help our community understand that what is good for children and families, is also good for business.”

The Mayor’s Office and the Task Force are encouraging businesses to take steps like offering flexible working hours, providing nursing spaces, offering on-site child care, and more.

"Although it sounds like a lofty goal, we want to make Tallahassee the most family friendly city in the nation,” said Tom Derzypolski, who is the co-chair of the Family First Workplace Initiative.

Many in the Capital City are on board with the initiative.

Resident Randie Denker said she formerly worked for the State, but felt she had to choose between family life and work life after having a baby several decades ago.

"When I found out there was only seven weeks of leave, I looked at my baby's face and said, ‘no I can't do that,’” said Denker. “So I quit and started my own business and it was horrible. I loved my job.”

She believes there are some changes that could be made in the workplace to better accommodate new parents.

“For starters I think it would be great to have in house child care so the mother and the father have an opportunity to see their child throughout the day… and if a mother is nursing I think it’s really important to be able to have that contact with her child,” she said.

Others agreed.

"The bottom line is that if your mind and your heart and your spirit is preoccupied with concerns about your family, then you're not going to be at the workplace. So you can be, quote unquote, a living zombie,” said Tallahassee resident Michelle Gamble.

Gamble suggested allowing staff members to bring their kids to the office if and when necessary. And, encouraging employees to go on field trips with their children.

“If I am concerned that my child is not safe, if I don’t have an opportunity to maybe visually see that child through video or something of that nature, then I’m going to be preoccupied and I’m not going to be giving my job the 100 percent effort that I as a professional would want to give my job,” she said.

Still others said although the concept is a good one, that it’s not always plausible.

"I think it's a good selling point, but for it to actually happen it's almost impossible. Especially when you're trying to run your business. You have to have your business first,” said Robert Moore, who was visiting town from Coral Springs, Florida.

Moore noted that with some jobs, such as seasonal jobs, there isn’t always flexibility when it comes to schedules. And that sometimes, a job needs to get done when it needs to get done.

Still, Derzypolski said making an effort to be family friendly is a necessity to attract and maintain talent and productivity.

"Society and our community is changing in a way that if you're a business that's only worried about the bottom line and getting every ounce of productivity out of your employees, no sick days, and if your children are sick it doesn't matter, those businesses are going to lose the talent that makes them great,” he said.

The Mayor’s Office will host the Family Friendly Workplace Recognition Reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Grasslands Brewery. The event is part of Family First Week, a series of events leading up to the Community Summit on Children, Wednesday.



 
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