Family Friendly Culture Helps Employees Juggle Life, Careers
Bristol-Myers Squibb employees Kelly and Ernie with their children at one of the company’s five Child Development Centers.
Madelyn, 7, is the oldest and just started second grade. She loves school, soccer and the “Magic Tree House” book series. Her mother calls her “the sweet, responsible one.” Isabella is 5 and in kindergarten. She is fun-loving, silly and delights in making her little brother, Troy, laugh. Troy will be 2 in November. He just graduated to the toddler room of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Child Development Center at the company’s Hopewell, New Jersey, site.
Three young children plus two full-time careers at Bristol-Myers Squibb keep Ernie and Kelly S. hopping. It also makes them appreciate working for a company that gets it.
“I think it’s great that Bristol-Myers Squibb has a culture of focusing on the family and supporting work-life balance,” says Kelly, manager, Information Technology Validation Services. “It’s up to the individual to make it work for them, but the support is out there.”
The company’s support for working families like theirs was again recognized by Working Mother magazine, which included Bristol-Myers Squibb on its just-released list of “2011 Working Mother 100 Best Companies” for the 14th straight year.
While the award highlights work-life balance from a mother’s perspective, Ernie, a test lead in Global Development Informatics, has found that Bristol-Myers Squibb deserves credit for supporting fathers, too.
The couple began discovering the company’s family friendly benefits as they prepared for their first child’s birth in 2004. Kelly and Ernie attended company-sponsored workshops for expectant parents to get ready for baby. As the big day drew near the company equipped Ernie with a “baby beeper,” a dedicated pager for reaching dads when labor began – a system since made obsolete by cell phone proliferation.
After Madelyn’s birth, Kelly took a three-month Family Care leave of absence using a combination of paid and unpaid leave, and vacation time, while Ernie made use of a one-week paid Parental Leave that that company provides fathers and domestic partners. The couple then enrolled Madelyn at Hopewell’s newly opened Child Development Center, the first of their three children to attend.
“We know they’re taking good care of our kids there,” Ernie says of the Center. “The staff is like an extended part of our family now.”
The family made fuller use of the company’s flexible leave programs after the birth of Troy in the fall of 2009. Choosing to defer their Family Care leave of absence until that coming summer, Ernie and Kelly each took a summer month off so that one parent would be home with the children until school started again.
“It can be difficult with three kids, just juggling schedules,” says Ernie. “I commend our departments and our managers for being supportive of parents and families, and I commend the company for having the policies in place.”
Please read: Bristol-Myers Squibb Named a 100 Best Company by Working Mother