UW Hospital One of 100 Best Companies for Working Moms

UW Hospital wins Working Mother awardMADISON - University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics has been chosen by Working Mother magazine as one of the nation's 100 Best Companies for working mothers.

The only Madison-area organization to be recognized, UW Hospital was one of only three Wisconsin companies and among 18 health organizations nationwide to make the prestigious list.

"Taking care of people in a compassionate and caring way is ingrained in our culture at UW Hospital and Clinics, and that starts with how we take care of our employees," said Donna Sollenberger, president and CEO.

"We're very excited that Working Mother magazine has recognized our efforts to provide employees a workplace that values them as individuals," added Sollenberger, a working mother herself for more than 30 years. "This is something that the Madison area, Dane County and the state of Wisconsin should all be proud of."

Announcing the prestigious national honor at a news conference featuring three women who balance family life with careers at UW Hospital and Clinics, human resources vice president Janice Bultema said it's not just the excellent benefits that set the hospital apart. It's also a family-friendly corporate culture that's supportive of all employees as they try to maintain a work-life balance.

Benefits Just "The Icing on the Cake"

Time and time again, Bultema says, she's heard women insist that the benefits and programs they enjoy as hospital employees are "the icing on the cake."

Working Mother 100 Best Companies 2007"It's really the culture – it's who we are as an organization that sets us apart and helps people feel special," Bultema says. "We know that working mothers and all of our employees have competing priorities, and it's important to us to help them balance that and feel fulfilled in their work."

It's that type of culture that impresses working moms like Kiah Calmese Walker, a program coordinator and educator with UW Hospital's in-house Academy, which offers training and development opportunities to employees. The mother of a 3-year-old boy, Walker jokes that she often feels as if she has 5 children – "he has just that much energy."

So when Walker found herself with a daycare glitch and had to take her son into the office while she took care of a few things, Walker joked that she at first tried to hide him under her skirt because she didn't want to disrupt the professional environment of the human resources office.

"But I got in there and it was amazing," says Walker, who noted that her manager and other employees were quick to make her son feel welcome, giving him a treat and an activity to keep him occupied.

"My boss… came out and she became a bigger kid than him," Walker recalls. "That is when I really got the first glimpse of how this organization values mothers and children, and families in general."

Working Mother Selection Criteria

Working Mother magazine has been ranking family-friendly companies for 22 years. The magazine chooses companies using 5 main selection criteria:
  • Company culture 
  • Family-friendly programs 
  • Flexibility and time off 
  • Child care 
  • Advancement of women

One of Dane County's largest employers with a workforce of almost 7,000 - most of whom are female - UW Hospital and Clinics began a focused effort to be an "employer of choice" 7 years ago, with the implementation of programs designed to give employees balance in their lives.

The hospital was selected because of its family-oriented work culture and a vast array of family-friendly programs, including:

  • Flexible work scheduling with compressed work schedules and flexibility to change from full-time to part-time 
  • Child care and elder care resources, including a company-sponsored near-site child-care center and a resource and referral service to help moms and dads find other quality day-care facilities 
  • Tuition reimbursement and scholarships, including a school-at-work program 
  • Employee assistance services, including confidential and free counseling, financial and legal consultation and estate planning 
  • Wellness programs, including exercise classes, stress management assistance and family-fun activities 
  • On-site conveniences, including mail and package delivery and pre-made meals to take home to the family
  • Learn more about UW Hospital benefits and programs

In its evaluation of UW Hospital and Clinics, Working Mother cited the hospital's flexible scheduling and other unique programs, such as free one-on-one financial counseling to help parents with college-bound teens come up with a financial plan.

"Coordinating family needs with the ever-changing demands of a job in the health-care industry can be challenging, but employees at this hospital network get lots of help," Working Mother said.

The national honor from the magazine places UW Hospital and Clinics' commitment to working mothers "among the very elite in America," Sollenberger said.

"It also highlights the breadth and depth of the programs and benefits that are available to all of our employees as they strive for fulfillment both at work and at home," Sollenberger added.

Combining Family Priorities With Professional Growth

In her 15 years at UW Hospital and Clinics, Vicki Hill has taken advantage of several programs and benefits for working moms – from taking 3 months of maternity leave with each of her 2 children to a President's Scholarship program that offered a full scholarship and paid time off while she pursued her executive MBA at the University of Wisconsin.

"When I started here 15 years ago, I was not thinking about family – I was thinking about career, career, career," says Hill, who was recently promoted to direct the implementation of an enterprise-wide electronic health record system. "Then I started thinking about family a couple years into my employment here, and was encouraged by my administrator then to strike a very good work-life balance."

That's exactly what Nikki Engledow has been able to do in her nursing career at the hospital. She started at UW Hospital as a nursing care team leader, and was promoted to nursing supervisor after returning from maternity leave. Her 3:30-11pm schedule allows her to spend more time with her 2 boys, ages 6 and 2.

"I'm able to have my entire morning and day with our boys – it's invaluable," Engledow says. "We have breakfast, we have lunch, I can go to swim lessons – and that's time I'll never get back, so I am grateful every day for that."


Date Published: 05/20/2008

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