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On Parenting
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/16/2011

A place where ‘bottom line’ and ‘family friendly’ are compatible

Does your company offer paid parental leave? Flex time? Day care? An outdoor children’s park modeled after the Australian outback?

Discovery Communications in Silver Spring has those perks and because of them is being recognized this month by Working Mother magazine as one of the 10 “Best Companies for Kids” in the country.

Discovery, the only company to be recognized in the region, has for years been a perennial favorite on the magazine’s “best” lists for its generous family-friendly amenities. This year, its day-care center, known as Discovery Kids Place, is singled out for praise.

An excerpt from the magazine’s description:
The front desk area of Discovery Kids Place. (Courtesy of Discovery Communications)

“Every weekday, from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. you can see happy toddlers and preschoolers sprinting around the grounds of this media giant’s headquarters, intent on getting to its fun, colorful, child-care center. The staff is trained in early childhood development.”

Not surprisingly, the 106-capacity center has a waiting list. Especially since its tuition is based on income.

“Our child-care center is one of our most significant signature programs and has had tremendous impact on our recruitment and retention strategies,” Discovery executive Evelyne S. Steward wrote in an e-mail to me.

Steward’s title is vice president for Global LifeWorks & Diversity, which might say something about how seriously the company takes this. In this economy, many companies are cutting perks, not adding them. But according to Steward, the extra benefits have helped Discovery’s bottom line.

“Our overall philosophy recognizes that employees are one of our most important stakeholders and that their well being, work-life balance and flexibility is critical to their personal, professional success and to the growth and success of Discovery,” Steward said.

Now, that’s a refreshing sentiment.

Does your company belong on the Working Mother list, too? What perks make, or would make, your office family friendly? Is it realistic now to ask for more?

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/16/2011

 
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