Last week we gathered to celebrate and recognize 2023 Family Friendly Business Award® recipients at the 7th Annual FFNM Awards Luncheon! Among the festivities was a panel discussion featuring leaders sharing expertise from across different industries. Because we know how important it is to learn from our peers, this week (and next) we are sharing that discussion in our blog! We are excited to share the creative ways employers implement workplace policies and how that impacts company culture, and employee satisfaction.
- Amanda Armenta, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Principal Human Resources Business Partner, Sandia National Laboratories
- Jill Beets, VP of Marketing & Communications, Adelante Development Center
- Vince Moffitt, President/CEO, Basin Health Companies
It is not easy to step outside the box and implement policies or provide benefits that have never been provided. What made you/your organization decide to implement your stand-out policy? How has the policy changed employees’ involvement in….. how did you decide on this policy? What was your “business case” for implementing this policy?
Adelante set up the Mike Kivitz Legacy Innovation Fund and grants for our employees to honor our long-term CEO who retired two years ago after serving our organization for over 40 years. The key goals of the fund were to continue the legacy of innovation at Adelante, to help develop up-and-coming nonprofit leaders in our community by helping them to fund projects Adelante employees of all levels can lead, and to give back to the community – all very much in line with our mission and our work moving New Mexico forward. Our business case for this policy and these grants was to continue to evolve as an organization in our services because new ways to work could be discovered. In addition, we wanted employees of all levels to be able to demonstrate and develop their leadership skills through the grant process. Each person can oversee a budget up to $2,000 handling the shopping, receipts, and reporting, as well as organizing staff/clients to take part and help complete these projects. Year one was last year and people came up with great projects. One of our former job coaches who now works in the marketing team taught the clients how to marbleize silk scarves. It was a new way to create art and both the staff members and associated clients learned along the way. New Mexico Nonprofits are an important part of our economy that are often overlooked, bringing in over $1.86 Billion into our economy and employing over 62,000 people. It’s important to develop leaders in this important part of New Mexico. Adelante also offers scholarships for college and technical training through the Sheila Moore Scholarship Fund and the Jim Bullard Technical & Project Management Fund. Both encourage and support professional development and continued education for our team members. They were set up to honor the legacy of two 30+ year employees who were known to develop their team members; and they continue to support our staff member’s growth.
The talent marketplace is increasingly competitive and we recognize that employees and job seekers have choices. Stand out policies will make people pause and consider how these policies align with what’s important to them. In terms of a business case, it makes good business sense to implement these policies if our goal is to be an employer of choice.
We have several of what I would call “stand-out” policies. But one of my favorites is, quite simply, our flexible work schedules. Although we are a large company of 700 employees, close to 100 are office employees. We allow our employees, whose jobs allow it, to work remotely. Some have adopted this into a permanent work schedule, while others can take advantage in situations where they have sick kids at home, snow days, meeting repair people, etc.
In addition, we allow employees to leave to pick up and drop off kids for school and events as long as their duties are covered.
This type of flexibility has been very appreciated by our employees, who know we understand that “life happens” and that we value their families and the importance of involvement in their lives. As a result, employees have stayed with our company, and are higher producing.
I had tried to implement this policy before the pandemic but had difficulty getting managers to fully buy-in, and they were skeptical about whether or not it would work. When the pandemic hit, we were an essential business during the pandemic but went fully remote for several weeks. After that, we implemented processes to ensure our success and provide accountability and have extended them.
Do you think your stand-out policy/policies have helped support your company culture? How are you normalizing employee support and flexibility, encouraging a company culture that allows employees to form healthy boundaries around work time availability?
Adelante’s culture is definitely about moving our community forward and pitching in across the state where we are needed on pretty much anything that aligns with our mission – helping people with disabilities, seniors, or people experiencing disadvantages. This fund/stand out policy allows people to play new and different parts in helping these and other key constituencies; encouraging and funding our team members to do projects they feel are important. Adelante also has a long history of promotion from within. These grants allow up-and-coming leaders to demonstrate and improve their management skills, and learn from the process.
Employee support is also a key part of what we do as an organization. We like to say we help people move forward in their lives and we try to make sure that is true for our clients and staff alike. Having flexibility to allow people to care for themselves and their own families is important and reflected in our leave policies.
I do think our stand out policies enhance our company culture. Like many organizations, we seek feedback from our workforce through employee engagement surveys. Employee support and flexibility consistently show up as critically important to our workforce. When we’re able to offer benefits and programs that support employees in setting and maintaining these healthy boundaries around work time availability, it’s a win-win for the employee and the organization. The employee sees the organization acknowledging and respecting what’s important to them and the quality of work is there, regardless of what time of day the work takes place. Employees also have the time they need to recharge so we can avoid burnout.
I believe our policies have helped to support our company culture. I recently conducted employee satisfaction interviews, and the most common theme has been that they love working for our company. One of the many reasons is the culture and specifically mentioned our policies, especially the flexible schedules and their work day.
Can you describe the impact of the Family Friendly Business Award® and the resources available have helped support your ability or interest in implementing these stand-out policies?
The process of going through the application for Family Friendly Business Awards and to interact with other companies who were at high levels in the FFBA process have been helpful in determining what policies are most desired for employees with families; and allowing us to think through where we were doing well and where we had room for growth to be more family friendly.
I am always encouraged by the work of Family Friendly New Mexico. It shows me that there is a movement to recognize that an employee can bring their full self to work. Part of that is acknowledging that each of us is not just an employee. We have children, parents, friends, pets, interests, histories and so many other aspects of life that make us who we are. Family friendly policies and practices acknowledge that whole person.
The Family Friendly Business award was essential in helping me look at the policies we currently offer and explore new ones to improve the employee work experience. In addition, I look at the policies other awardees have implemented and try to incorporate them whenever possible.
Please come back next week for the rest of the panel discussion!
Amanda Armenta is a Principal Human Resources Business Partner for Sandia National Laboratories, the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation. With 20+ years’ experience, Amanda has worked in the technology and construction fields in the private sector as well as federal government and higher education. She is accomplished in progressive employee relations solutions, development of people strategy and culture, employment law, communications, staffing, training/facilitation, and is a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Jill Beets is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Adelante Development Center, one of the largest social service nonprofits in New Mexico. As an organization, Adelante has a positive impact on the lives of over 57,000 people across the state of New Mexico, including people with disabilities, seniors, and people with disadvantages. Jill has worked for Adelante for over 20 years and handles their media relations, marketing, and advocacy work both locally and nationally.
Vince Moffitt is the owner and CEO of Basin Health Companies, the largest private employer in San Juan County. A retired Battalion Chief from the Farmington Fire Department and former Director of Field Operations and Incident Management Chief with Team Rubicon, Vince now manages several home healthcare businesses in Farmington, Gallup, and Grants under the Basin Health Companies umbrella. His passion for leadership, healthcare, and service continues through his active involvement with Basin Health Companies, civic organizations, advocacy work, and disaster response, making him a respected leader in these industries.