Family Friendly New Mexico (FFNM) is celebrating our fifth anniversary this year and we thought it would be a good time to give a little history and deeper dive into our program. The mission of the FFNM initiative is to recognize and support employers that adopt and implement family friendly policies so that businesses, employees and their families can thrive.
What is Family Friendly?
We realize that the term “family friendly” can have a variety of meanings and interpretations.
The term is used in many situations such as describing a business that is family friendly by allowing children into the establishment or by offering products and services to the entire family. Often, when the term is mentioned in a business setting, some think it to mean that the business itself is a family-owned business. For our initiative, the term means that an employer provides family centered workplace policies that are meant to support the overall well-being of families and communities. Our initiative groups and awards businesses based on the policies they implement in these seven categories: paid leave, health support, work schedules, economic support, pay equity, diversity and inclusion and community investment.
A Brief History of Family Friendly New Mexico
While the organization itself was founded in 2015 as a project under The Center of Southwest Culture, the New Mexico Family Friendly Business Award™ developed from early work of the New Mexico Task Force on Work-Life Balance, which was convened by the NM state legislature in 2010 and 2011. The Task Force was charged with developing a consistent definition of family friendly policies across the state. The Family Friendly Business Award™ was then launched by Family Friendly New Mexico to recognize and support businesses that adopt and implement family friendly policies for their employees.
How our Family Friendly Business Award™ (FFBA) Program Works
The Family Friendly Business Award™ program is open to any New Mexico business, organization, educational institution or governmental agency with two employees or more. It is a self-reporting, online web form that walks applicants through a series of questions about the family friendly workplace policies they currently have in place in their business/organization. The questions are organized by the categories previously outlined above and ask about specific policies within each category. It is important to note that the policies are not required to be in writing as long as they are clearly communicated and applied to all employees. There are a total of twenty-two policies among the seven categories.
In addition to questions about the individual policies in place, applicants are asked to affirm that their policies (written or verbal) comply with the three workplace laws in place in New Mexico. These are: the New Mexico Breastfeeding Law, the Promoting Financial Independence for Victims of Domestic Abuse Act and compliance with the New Mexico Fair Pay for Women Act.
After an applicant completes the online application, they learn immediately what level of award they have received. The award levels and qualification requirements are:
Platinum (Distinguished Leader)
Recipients meet at least two family friendly policies in each of the first four categories plus one policy in each of the three Platinum level categories and receive the family friendly business award seal and a certificate of recognition that they can use in their business materials and promotion.
Gold (Committed Leader)
Recipients meet at least one family friendly policy in each of the four categories and receive the family friendly business award seal and a certificate of recognition that they can use in their business materials and promotion.
Silver (Rising Leader)
Recipients meet any three family friendly policies and receive the family friendly business “rising leader” seal and a certificate of recognition that they can use in their business materials and promotion.
Bronze (On the Pathway)
Recipients meet two or less family friendly policies and receive information and educational materials so they can continue on the path to a more family friendly business.
The Silver, Gold and Platinum levels receive a Certificate of Award (downloadable PDF), a digital seal and a window cling that they can display in their place of business. Bronze level awardees receive a Certificate of Recognition and resources on how to implement and add family friendly policies.
An Annual Application Process
The award program is based on an annual application (renewals are faster as the previous application answers are available when the applicant renews). As business changes and evolves, many of our awardees move up a level or are able to add more family friendly policies year over year and we want to recognize that progress on an annual basis.
Employers can apply any time during the year but our official renewal phase opens in October of each year. The benefit of an October application submission for new awardees is that they are recognized in the year that they apply and the subsequent year as well. For example, if an employer applies for the award any time between October and December of 2020, they will receive recognition for 2020 and 2021 – they won’t come up for renewal until October 2021. However, if they have added policies that allow them to move up an award level, they can resubmit their application at any point during the year.
What are the Benefits of Being a Family Friendly Business Awardee?
The following provides an overview of the benefits to being an awardee:
- Email and website recognition. All current awardees are listed on the Family Friendly New Mexico website.
- Free print advertising. For example, all awardees have been listed in the 4-page insert published by Albuquerque Business First for the annual awards luncheon. Awardees and sponsors of the initiative are also listed on up to 3-6 print and digital ads per year.
- Platinum & Gold level awardees are mentioned in print advertising throughout the year.
- Visibility on social media as a family friendly business through our recognition posts.
- The family friendly seal for the Silver, Gold and Platinum levels are provided in a digital format to use in marketing materials and hiring documents and a window cling is mailed to each awardee to display in your workplace.
- Special invites to Family Friendly NM events.
- CEU accredited event opportunities for all awardees to support the community of HR professionals that help drive family friendly policies in the workplace.
- An online toolkit for businesses owners and HR professionals to gain more knowledge about family friendly policies and how to implement them in the workplace.
- A network of support. Family Friendly New Mexico’s educational events provide a unique opportunity for attendees to collaborate and share their successes and challenges to develop business strategies that really work.
- Finally, all awardees are invited to be recognized at the Annual Family Friendly Business Awards Luncheon.
The staff at FFNM are available to answer any questions you may have about our initiative. Please contact us! If you are ready to apply, please visit our application page.
About the author:
Julianna Silva, COO of Family Friendly NM, is a native New Mexican committed to helping New Mexicans realize economic vitality through her work to support both small business ownership and policies that enable families to thrive. A graduate of the UNM Anderson School of Management, she forged her path in entrepreneurship from her own consulting practice, co-ownership of a family business and by leading key initiatives at WESST. As Chief Operating Officer at Family Friendly New Mexico, Julianna collaborates with the CEO and staff to develop and implement operational infrastructure designed to achieve the FFNM mission to support businesses, their employees and families to thrive.