Michael Wood, Director, Education & Workforce
The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) strongly believes in the importance of family-friendly workplaces. In partnership with PNC Bank, the DRC was proud to launch the Best Place for Working Parents™ Dallas earlier this year, a new initiative to recognize and promote family-friendly workplaces through a first-of-its-kind business self-assessment. In this ongoing series, the DRC will feature Dallas Region companies whose support for working parents go above and beyond the ten policies recommended by the Best Place for Working Parents program.
Fidelity Investments (Fidelity) has been recognized as a Best Place for Working Parents two years in a row, receiving both the designation and a competitive Innovator Award in the program’s debut in Fort Worth in 2020. For Fidelity, family-friendly policies are more than a tool to retain top talent.
“We are passionate about fostering a positive experience for our associates,” said Kirsten Kuykendoll, Head of Associate Experience and Texas Regional Leader for Fidelity. “That includes supporting them in all the roles they take on, even those outside of the workplace.”
First and foremost, Fidelity provides associates with industry-leading parental leave and health coverage. Mothers receive 16 weeks’ worth of paid leave postpartum, while spouses or domestic partners receive 6 weeks. Adoptive parents, too, are eligible for paid leave and paid adoption expenses. Fidelity associates and their dependents are also eligible for traditional medical, dental, vision, and telehealth coverage, the last of which has proved vital amid the pandemic.
Outside of telehealth, COVID-19 has led to Fidelity reimagining a number of its benefits. In place of its on-campus fitness centers, exercise classes have been offered virtually. Fidelity has also extended mental and emotional wellness support to help associates and their families cope with stress and anxiety during the pandemic. Additional relief days have been granted on top of customary paid time off to allow employees to address unexpected events due to the pandemic.
Fidelity further understands that their working parents’ needs do not resolve upon return from maternity or parental leave. The company has long offered childcare benefits for its staff, such as back-up dependent care. These policies, too, were enhanced amid the pandemic. Fidelity stood up additional support for working parents and caregivers to find and afford childcare, tutoring, and eldercare resources.
Pre-pandemic, Fidelity prioritized flexible working arrangements for staff, empowering individual associates to determine their scheduling needs with their manager. COVID-19 has only expanded the flexibility Fidelity workers enjoy. As vaccination distribution accelerates and a return to the workplace approaches when it’s deemed safe, the company is working diligently to consider long-term flexibility for its associates.
“While we hope to return to the office soon, Fidelity strives to create an environment that recognizes the intersection of our associate’s personal and professional lives in the long-term,” said Kuykendoll. “Separating work from home is not realistic, so flexibility in the workplace is crucial.”
Beyond benefits, Fidelity offers a variety of additional events and resources for its associates caring for children. In particular, the company created a special interest group for employee caregivers. The group, which started as a support group for working parents but has since expanded to include employees struggling to start a family or caring for aging parents, provides a forum for associates to share resources and guidance with one another.
Fidelity’s commitment to family-friendly policies has not gone unnoticed by its associates. Based on a recent employee survey, 96% of Fidelity associates in Texas say that the company’s benefits meet their current needs and help them plan for the future, while 93% say that they are able to work in ways that accommodate their personal needs.
Those statistics underscore a key component of Fidelity’s approach to developing its benefits: constant communication with employees.
“Fidelity is always seeking feedback from associates to understand their challenges and how we can help address them,” said Kuykendoll. “Especially in regard to family-friendly policies, I would encourage other companies to listen to their staff and, most importantly, act on their feedback.”
While praise is not a primary motivation for Fidelity’s robust family-friendly benefits, public recognition through programs like Best Place for Working Parents™ Dallas is welcomed. By displaying the designation in office buildings, email signatures, and recruiting materials, Fidelity is further able to communicate their commitment to working parents to current and prospective employees and clients.
Learn more about Best Place for Working Parents™ Dallas and complete the business self-assessment by visiting the DRC website. The self-assessment can be completed in under 3 minutes and immediately notifies employers if they are eligible to receive the designation by comparing their family-friendly policies to those of similarly sized companies in the region.