W2O Group Enhances New Parent Leave

Posted by: in Inside WCG, Insights, W2O Group on September 11, 2014

W2O Group has grown rapidly in the 12 years since Jim Weiss started the firm as a one-man operation from his loft in San Francisco with a network of women consultants.  These women helped Jim get the company off the ground and he has always been very attuned to the value working parents bring and the challenges they face in juggling work and home daily.

Fast-forward to today and our company is now 400 people strong across 8 offices and with that growth came an opportunity to enhance our New Parent Leave policy as the majority of our colleagues are around the age when new parent leave is a current or future concern.

As a young woman at the firm, it was important to me to build my career at a company that was committed to its young working parents, especially women.  One of my favorite quotes is from Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In ,who said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” But realistically,  it’s only possible to lean in if you have the appropriate supportive framework to allow working parents to do just that.

As W2O is an agency rooted in analytics and research, we looked to the facts to guide us as we enriched the policy.  According to a  recent NY Times article, Jody Heymann, dean of the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, states that maternity leave is associated with lower infant mortality rates. She adds that beyond the health benefits for the child, paid maternity leave yields economic gains in terms of reduced healthcare costs, reduced recruitment and retraining and improved long-term earnings for women.  Additionally, a  case study of California’s state paid family leave by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 89% of the employers surveyed reported that the state’s policy had either a positive or no noticeable effect on productivity. An even larger portion of employers found that the policy had a positive effect or none at all on profitability and performance, turnover, and employee morale.

W2O leader Jennifer Gottlieb helped to champion this cause.  As an 8-year veteran at the company and a busy working mom with two young daughters, she very much understands the importance of paid time following the arrival of a child.  “After reviewing the research and getting insights from working parents here at the company, W2O determined more paid time off for child bonding was a much-needed and desired benefit,” said Jennifer Gottlieb. “The feedback from women and men throughout the company has been tremendous and is another example of our agency’s “next practices” – moving with the changing needs of our industry both internally and externally.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about W2O’s New Parent Leave policy or why it’s such a great place for young people to work, please reach out to HR Leader, Dika Myers, at dmyers@w2ogroup.com.

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