Northwestern Memorial named one of '100 Best Places for Working Mothers'


Hospital recognized for increased flexibility in scheduling

Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a premier academic medical center in Chicago, was named to Working Mother magazine's annual "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" for the sixth consecutive year. Northwestern Memorial was one of only nine Illinois organizations to make this prestigious ranking of organizations dedicated to meeting the growing needs of working mothers and families.

"Northwestern Memorial is an organization dedicated to taking care of people and that starts with our employees," said Dean Manheimer, senior vice president, Human Resources. "We are honored to once again be recognized by Working Mother for our efforts to provide working mothers and families with a broad range of services that help them balance professional demands with personal ones."

In surveying the companies that applied for this year's list, particular weight was given to questions in three areas: flexible scheduling, the most critical benefit for working mothers; child-care options, because without them parents can't work; and time off for new parents, because it's critical for mothers to bond with their newborns without suffering professionally.

This year, Northwestern Memorial was recognized for providing increased schedule flexibility through two new programs. The first is a new Paid Time-Off (PTO) program. The program is structured such that vacation, holiday, and sick time are combined into one 'bank,' giving employees more leverage for how and when they use their time off. For the nursing staff who make up approximately one-third of the hospital's total employees, the hospital implemented an online self-scheduling system. Through secure computer access, nurses can select the shifts they would like to work based on guidelines that apply to every unit, and even have the option of picking up additional shifts, if available. Nurses can also request time off up to six months in advance.

Northwestern Memorial was also recognized for its industry-leading programs for working mothers and families in the following areas:

Children's Care Center
Northwestern Memorial helps support the needs of its working families in many stages of their children's lives. In fact, twenty-five percent of hospital employees have children who are age 12 and under. The hospital offers affordable, accessible and on-site childcare services, operated in conjunction with Bright Horizons Family Solutions. The hospital's childcare services are available for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners, as well as summer camps for older children in addition to drop-in care.

Lifestyle programs
This past year, Northwestern Memorial introduced a formal concierge program to help employees accomplish some of their 'to-dos.' Provided at no cost to the employee apart from the retail cost of services, the program includes: laundry services, jewelry and watch repair, shoe and leather repair, gift wrapping, catering, reservations for restaurants and special events, pet services, and car services (oil changes, washing and detailing, repairs). The service also maintains a "Weekend Ideas" book with a list of events in the area and can do additional research upon request. The program has been well-received by employees with very positive feedback.

In addition to the concierge, the hospital offers numerous on-site services to help employees balance work and home, including: on-site tax preparation, dental and vision services, and comprehensive nutrition programs through the Wellness Institute.

"We salute Northwestern Memorial for their efforts on behalf of working mothers, and for making the 100 Best for the sixth time," said Carol Evans, CEO of Working Mother Media. "It is my hope that other companies around the country learn from the best and experience first-hand the value of flexibility as a business imperative."

To apply for the Working Mother 100 Best, Northwestern Memorial provided Working Mother magazine with detailed information on eight areas of work/life including: childcare, culture, flexibility, parental leave, women's advancement, total compensation, work/life culture, and family-friendly programs. Northwestern Memorial completed a 550-question application, the most rigorous of its kind, which checked the availability, tracking and usage of programs to support working mothers, the accountability of managers to implement programs and the successful advancement of women into top paying jobs, board positions and management ranks.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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