UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo receives a gold-level Family Friendly Workplace Award Thursday from Mark Tyler, left, founder of Family Friendly Workplaces, and Neil Kline, right, executive director of the organization. UWRF photo.
July 27, 2023 – The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has been certified as a gold-level Family Friendly Workplace, the highest distinction given by an organization that recognizes employers that account for the needs of workers and their families.
Woodville-based Family Friendly Workplaces announced today that it has recognized UWRF as an employer that offers its employees a high level of family-related benefits. The certification recognizes the commitment of UWRF to provide a workplace that strongly supports the needs of employees and their families.
“At UWRF, we value our employees and therefore strive to create a positive campus culture that helps them balance their work and family lives,” Chancellor Maria Gallo said. “Doing so is not only the right thing to promote wellbeing, but it also helps in attracting and retaining employees.”
To be certified, Family Friendly Workplaces reviewed UWRF’s Human Resources’ policies and practices, awarding points for those that support families and children. The rankings cover a wide range of topics, such as health care, time off, flexible work arrangements, employee assistance programs and others.
As part of the certification process, employers complete the application by self-scoring their organization for each of the criteria. Once the employer submits its application, a Family Friendly Workplaces representative reviews that data and assigns the appropriate certification level.
Mesa Carlsen, event coordinator at UWRF, knows firsthand the value of the university’s employee benefits. Last year, when she gave birth to her daughter Olive, Carlsen was able to take the first three months after her baby was born off work to spend time with her. Now Olive is enrolled at the UWRF Child Center, just a few blocks from Carlsen’s office.
“Having her just down the street from me has been a big positive,” Carlsen said. “I can walk to see her if I need to.”
UWRF focuses on employee and student health and wellbeing and provides classes related to wellness in a broad range of areas, said Heather Flock, fitness and wellness coordinator at UWRF. Addressing mental health and wellness plays a vital role in retaining employees and students, she said, noting that offerings such as yoga, relaxation, and sleep techniques training have been added on campus.
“These classes have been a great addition to our employee wellness initiative and are showing great results,” Flock said. “We are excited to continue our efforts in creating a positive culture at UWRF."
Family Friendly Workplaces strives to address western Wisconsin's workforce shortage and to strengthen western Wisconsin families by certifying businesses as family friendly and encouraging the adoption of practices that benefit families. The willingness of workplaces to provide employees with benefits is more important than ever amid an ongoing worker shortage, said Neil Kline, executive director of Family Friendly Workplaces.
“We are proud to recognize UWRF for their robust family-supporting benefits,” Kline said. “Employers, both public and private, are facing a challenging labor force environment. We hope UWRF’s certification sets an example for how an organization can not only be competitive in the marketplace, but also support children and families through their benefits.”
UWRF is among 30 employers in western and northwestern Wisconsin that offer market-leading benefits to their employees and who are committed to supporting children and families, Kline said.
To learn more about Family Friendly Workplaces and its certification program, visit www.familyfriendlyworkplaces.org.