When Jim Weiss started what is now W2O, he had a vision to make the world a healthier place by creating the type of firm he was looking for when he was a client. Fast forward nearly 20 years, and W2O now employs more than 1,500 industry rock stars who are working from home and dealing with some pretty incredible challenges while they continue to deliver for clients day in and day out.
With women comprising nearly 70% of our workforce, and most employees age 27 to 50, it was clear that “family” would be a key driver of the support we would want to provide. To ensure that W2O families start out right and have the needed support throughout the parenting journey, we already provide extensive health benefits – from fertility support to parental leave (including additional time for preemie care) to our award-winning Your 4th Trimester™ program, which provides 90 days of concierge support for each new employee parent.
We also have an Employee Resource Group, W2O Families, whose mission is to “empower working parents of W2O to be successful in their roles at work and at home, nurturing a family-friendly culture at the firm while engaging employees’ children, too.”
During the past six months, W2O Families has been supporting families with extensive programming, engaging content and – importantly – reminders to prioritize self-care. From a pen pal program that connects children of W2O employees, to “Nana School” with a retired kindergarten teacher keeping little ones learning, moving and having fun, to story time led by various W2O employees, the focus of W2O Families has been on keeping W2O kids active and engaged during our “Safer @Home” period.
Recently, W2O Families hosted a panel of experts to discuss the topic of Navigating Parenting in a Pandemic. A best-selling author, licensed psychologist, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and curriculum specialist/teacher answered employees’ questions about distance learning, screen time, setting boundaries, and defining home and school spaces. They also offered advice on how W2O parents can continue to be successful during these trying times. I’ve never seen a more active chat, so it’s safe to say that our employees were excited to have a forum where they could find commonality with co-workers and benefit from expert advice.
For my husband and I, the panel underscored why W2O is such an exceptional company to work for: our culture is built to care about the individual first and foremost. When employees feel supported and invested in, it shows in their work and loyalty.
To that end, we recently rolled out some additional – and uniquely W2O – support programs:
- W2O F.I.T. allows employees to find a FLEXIBLE schedule that helps them meet the current demands of caregiving, distance learning and self-care. This program is available to all employees, and HR Business Partners are working with each of their departments to reimagine what work schedules look like for each team. Keeping the 4Cs top of mind – Clients, Coverage, Communication and Collaboration – W2O believes that we can support our employees to create a work schedule that supports each team’s needs while still providing world-class customer support. The other components of the program include being INTENTIONAL about our priorities; working smarter, not harder; and being TECH-ENABLED, which means utilizing the best technology to support our work streams.
- W2O Tutoring offers a substantial discount on tutoring and a company subsidy for tutoring hours for employees’ children. Our partners, Sylvan Learning and Cornerstone on Demand, allow each hour we purchase for our kids to be matched by a donation of hours toward educating children in underserved communities through the Boys & Girls Club. This partnership is focused squarely on the concern of learning loss and making the world a healthier place through education.
- We are partnering with Modern Health to encourage W2Oers to take care of their mental health and well-being by making it easier to get access to the level of support they need, when they need it. In addition to such resources as guided meditations and health assessments via the mobile app, employees – and their dependents! – have access to individual telehealth counseling sessions to help them navigate these uncharted and highly stressful times. These counseling benefits are in addition to mental health benefits offered through our health insurance benefits, Employee Assistance Program, and “in house” LCSW.
- We also offer wellness stipends, work from home expense reimbursements, and meditation services, which are designed to care for the whole individual.
W2O is truly living our mission of “Making the World a Healthier Place” – and we are starting with the total health of our employees. We will always have their backs, because it’s the right thing to do.