Photo caption: Chancellor James Schmidt receives the gold-level certification plaque from Neil Kline, left, Family Friendly Workplaces executive director, and Mark Tyler, right, founder of the organization.
A bold vision in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s strategic plan is to attain national distinction in health and human wellbeing, says Chancellor James Schmidt.
The university on Nov. 30 was certified as a gold-level working environment by the Family Friendly Workplaces organization for its commitment to campus workers and their families.
“Being recognized as a Family Friendly Workplace reflects our collective commitment to the wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students,” Schmidt says. “We value deeply our colleagues and will continue to seek opportunities to create a positive environment at UW-Eau Claire for them and their families.”
Neil Kline, executive director of Family Friendly Workplaces based in Woodville, says the current labor market environment in west-central and northwest Wisconsin presents public and private employers with a difficult hiring and retention environment.
“The strong, family-supporting benefits offered by UW-Eau Claire are an important aspect of recruitment and retention, and help position the university to compete in this tight labor market,” Kline says. “UW-Eau Claire received our highest ranking because of the strength of their overall benefits package when compared to benchmarks for the rest of western and northwestern Wisconsin.”
To be certified, Family Friendly Workplaces conducted a thorough review of UW-Eau Claire’s human resources policies and practices covering a wide range of topics including health care, time off, flexible work arrangements, child care and early childhood support.
Dr. Brad Carter, assistant professor of biology, says he appreciates the university’s investment in the Children’s Nature Academy child care center where his children are able to spend time outside as part of the programming available to students, faculty and staff. Carter says the center staff has been supportive and flexible in meeting his family’s child care needs.
Carter also praised the biology department for its support of faculty and staff.
“My department was supportive of me taking a partial parental leave when my daughter was born in my second year, and I have been an advocate for similar support of colleagues since then,” Carter says. “I'm grateful that UWEC supports families with their resources and programming.”
Tori Follett, director of loyalty giving for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, says Foundation supervisors allow her to have a healthy work-life balance and flexibility as a parent. Follett’s children also attend UW-Eau Claire’s Children’s Nature Academy that provides quality care and education while accommodating varying situations.
“I have worked for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation since graduating from UW-Eau Claire in 2011, and I can’t imagine working for an employer that does not provide the same level of flexibility and understanding as my current supervisor and colleagues,” Follett says.
More information about Family Friendly Workplaces and its certification program are available here.