Working Mother magazine again chooses Yale as one of its ‘100 Best Companies’

For the sixth year in a row, Yale University has been selected by Working Mother magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies” in the nation for working mothers.

The magazine’s Best Companies initiative, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, recognizes the commitment companies are making to progressive workplace programs, including advancement of women, flexibility, child care, and paid parental leave.

“We are honored that Yale has been selected for the sixth year in a row as one of Working Mother magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies,’” says President Peter Salovey. “This recognition shines a light on how deeply we value a family-friendly environment that provides leadership opportunities for women. To date, 54% of senior management and 56% of all our managers are women. Still, we know that the university can always do more to create a workplace in which employees thrive, making Yale’s mission of research and education possible.”

What Working Mother found most significant at the university was the representation of women in its workforce; access to benefits both comprehensive and unique; paid time-off and leave policies; work-life programs; and flexible work improvements.

Subha Barry, vice president and general manager of Working Mother Media, says, “As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies, we are keen to recognize leaders who have built initiatives that truly support all employees. They are the vanguard of successful companies, with policies that matter to American families.”

“Being again recognized as one of the nation’s best employers for working mothers is quite an honor,” says Mike Peel, vice president of human resources and administration. ”However, we realize how challenging it remains for all of us to balance our work and personal/family demands, and Yale remains dedicated to making our workplaces even more flexible and supportive.”

Working Mother often chooses employers whose large representation by women is illustrated not only through advancement, but also through initiatives that advocate for women’s issues, leadership opportunities, mentorship experiences, and health and wellness.

In 2014, 13 of the 14 co-chairs of the university’s seven staff affinity groups were women. Accountant Jennifer Medina, co-chair of the Yale Latino Networking Group, gained through her mentorship experience “a renewed self confidence in my ability to be a professional working mother,” she says. “My mentor taught me the invaluable lesson of believing in myself. This could not have been taught in a classroom, and I look forward to one day being in the position to pay that forward.” Medina will represent Yale at the Working Mother awards ceremony in October.

Several workplace initiatives were led by Yale’s Women Faculty Forum (WFF), Working Women’s Network (WWN), and Women in IT (WIT).

The WFF program Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship at Yale has been an opportunity for Yale faculty women and underrepresented minority scholars to work intensely with journalists from the OpEd Project to increase their influence in and contribution to public debate. In 2014, 44 op-eds and other citations were contributed to such national media outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Postand more.

The WWN Advocacy Committee developed and implemented a staff survey about flexible work arrangements in 2014. The survey results were presented to Peel, and an enhancement was made to the flexible work policy for salaried staff. The WWN also made financial wellness for women a goal when it partnered with Yale Benefits to offer financial planning classes tailored to all Yale women. Over 150 women took advantage of the classes in 2014.

WIT organized an International Women’s Hackathon at Yale in partnership with Microsoft in 2014. Consistent with WIT’s mission to promote and encourage IT as a career of choice among women, the International Women’s Hackathon provided a safe and fun environment for women to emerge as leaders in the computing field. Over the past three years, WIT has brought this opportunity to over 600 women from seven countries. In 2014, the main event was held in Phoenix, but Yale organized one of many satellite events. The Yale event hosted 15 young women who came to campus to learn coding. Six developers from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Boot Camp, several members of Yale ITS, and two women from outside of ITS came together and assisted the women as mentors and judges.  

Highlights of other factors that contributed to the university’s winning selection are listed below.

Benefits: Yale Health, which offers affordable full-family coverage and is the healthcare provider used by almost 75% of employees, continued to garner attention from Working Mother. Unique benefit programs such as Tuition Reimbursement, Scholarship for Sons and Daughters, and the Homebuyer Program shared the spotlight. In addition to on-site child care — Yale opened its seventh daycare in 2014 — and referral resources, employees have 24/7 phone and e-mail resource-and-referral services through Magellan Behavioral Health, the provider of Yale’s Counseling and Support Services program not only for child care, but also for guidance on elder care resources for aging parents throughout the United States.

Paid time off and leaves: In addition to the university’s paid-time-off policy, Yale received mention for providing non-faculty salaried staff with two fully paid weeks of parental leave for mothers and fathers of biological or adopted children.

WorkLife, health and wellness programs: Working Mother also touted the ways Yale supports work and life balance. New in 2014 was a series of workshops, sponsored by the WorkLife Program, which introduced employees to creative ways to manage stress. Being Well at Yale continued to promote an eight-week online activity challenge in the fall and spring while offering lunchtime painting classes and more mindfulness meditation sessions. Yale remains committed to the Weight Watchers at Work program by providing a reimbursement incentive: In 2014 155 employees (all women except for two) joined the 12-week program with close to 60% qualifying for partial reimbursement.

Flexible work: The magazine also noted Yale’s flexible work option pilot for exempt non-faculty staff. This non-academic sabbatical enables staff members who meet eligibility requirements and have at least five years of service to take an unpaid sabbatical with full benefits for up to six months, every five years.

The full profiles of the 100 Best Companies are available online and in the October issue of Working Mother magazine.

Click here to see other workplace awards Yale has won.

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