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Wells Fargo among best workplaces for mom

SKYLER BELL, Of the Record staff

With big-name celebrities leading the way, motherhood is one of the current hip trends in America. A bar in Salt Lake City even recently held a "Mom I’d Like to Photograph" contest.

Another trend along the same line is the increase is moms in the workplace. The number has grown enough to merit its own magazine, Working Mother.

For years the publication has celebrated the efforts of employers who make it easier for mothers to work by creating the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list, which, in the 2006 edition, includes Wells Fargo, a financial institution with branches in Summit County.

Shelly Hisler, branch manager and assistant vice president for the Park City Wells Fargo, has three children and is one of the many working moms for the nationwide bank.

She has children ages nine, 13 and 15 and has worked for the bank for more than five years. She said the company’s generous policies of flextime, paid time off and maternity leave make Wells Fargo a great place to work, not only as a mother, but for everyone.

"We succeed as a team and if everyone is able to have both a work life and a family life you’ll have higher retention and a happier team," she said. "They want their employees to be successful, and that’s my job also."

"When looking for a company to work for, it’s good to know they look out for you and your family," she continued. "Wells Fargo is very generous with their time off and they have opportunities for scholarships for the children of employees once they get to that age. They just do a lot of different things to help."

She said Working Mother naming Wells Fargo as one of the best companies to work for is "very suitable. I’ve worked for several banks and Wells Fargo is very in tune with family. They know that if people are involved with their families then they will be more engaged as employees."

Working Mother honored Wells Fargo for its work in making the bank a women- and mother-friendly workplace.

In a survey distributed to companies, Working Mother collects data on seven areas including workforce profile, compensation, child care, flexibility, time off and leaves, family-friendly programs and company culture.

The most weight is given to flexibility and time off, two areas that greatly impact working moms.

Cora Daniels, special projects editor for Working Mother, said the application process isn’t easy.

"The application process is pretty extensive," she said. "Companies have to fill out an application that is several hundred questions long. It’s a big commitment to go through and fill out an application."

She said questions range from the number of female employees in entry-level or managerial positions to questions about lactation rooms and work-life programs.

"Sixty percent of the workforce at Wells Fargo is working mothers, with 40 percent of their management being working mothers," Daniels said.

She also said Wells Fargo gives its female employees options for subsidized child care, pre-maternity leave (up to three weeks before), up to 6 months after birth maternity leave with benefits, telecommuting, flextime, and the chance to only work when school is in session.

"These are programs that a lot of their work force actually take advantage of," she said. "It’s not just something to keep up appearances that nobody does. About a third of their employees use flextime, for instance."

Working Mother has been publishing the Best 100 Companies list for 21 years, with only IBM and Johnson & Johnson making the list each year.

"We’re the only publication that only looks at these issues and these issues are our bread and butter," Daniels said. "With this initiative alone, asking companies these questions helps shape the discussion and companies see that other companies are doing these things and maybe they should as well. It helps push other companies to implement these pro-mother practices."

Wells Fargo made the list, but not the top 10. Daniels said the list is in random order, except for the top 10, which the magazine designates specifically.

"We consider any company that makes the list very committed to their working mothers, but the top 10 are the best corporate America has to offer," she said.


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