Best Place for Working Parents® Dallas Innovator Award Profile: Corgan

Michael Wood, Managing Director, Education & Workforce


In 2022, the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) named three local companies as recipients of the inaugural Best Place for Working Parents® Dallas Innovator Awards for their exceptional commitment to family-friendly policies in the workplace. Corgan, an architecture and design firm headquartered in Dallas, earned the distinction as the Medium Business Innovator.

Since 2021, the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC), in partnership with PNC Bank, has sponsored the Best Place for Working Parents® Dallas, a local partner of the Best Place for Working Parents® national initiative. The program recognizes family-friendly workplaces in the Dallas Region through a proprietary business self-assessment and aims to raise awareness of the importance of family-friendly benefits and policies for employers and workers.

“Corgan strives to be a place where all aspects of an individual employee are supported,” said Hannah Cherner, Human Resources Business Partner for Corgan. “Our commitment to family-friendly policies helps demonstrate that goal to current and future Corgan employees.”

For Corgan, family-friendly benefits are a key driver of the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and recruitment strategies.

Cherner said offering a robust set of family-friendly policies helps ensure that Corgan is a welcoming work environment for a broad variety of employees. In turn, having diverse perspectives on staff enables the firm to serve a more diverse set of clients.

Strong family-friendly benefits are also a key recruitment and retention tool for Corgan. Beyond keeping pace with competitors and industry trends to prevent turnover, Corgan uses its benefits package to demonstrate its commitment to current and prospective employees.

From left to right: Halima McWilliams, Associate Principal, HR Operations & Culture, Corgan; Hannah Cherner, HR Business Partner, Corgan; Michael Wood, Managing Director, Education & Workforce, DRC

While Corgan has always valued family-friendly benefits, the firm’s evolution into a top workplace for parents largely took place over the last few years. The first inflection point, said Cherner, came when employees flagged they did not have enough parental leave, sparking a benchmarking exercise that revealed other gaps in Corgan’s benefits.

The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the firm’s expansion of family-friendly policies, such as flexible working hours and environments.

“Architecture is a very collaborative field and it’s one that is difficult to do virtually,” said Cherner. “We really had to build upon our benefits to get people back to the office quickly, safely, and in a way that didn’t disrupt their lives outside of work.”

Corgan’s most comprehensive family-friendly benefit is its partnership with Stork Club, an industry-leading benefits provider that offers employees a wide range of supports, from family planning assistance to child care referrals. Corgan’s most utilized benefit for working parents is the paid parental leave policy, which offers all new parents up to 12 weeks of fully paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child.

While usage rate is a key metric in assessing the strength of any benefit, the impact of family-friendly policies extends beyond the working parents it directly supports. In fact, Cherner said that both current and prospective Corgan employees appreciate benefits targeted at working parents, even if they do not have immediate plans to take advantage of those benefits.

“We find the greatest return on investment for our family-friendly policies in recruitment and retention,” said Cherner. “Particularly in recruitment, benefits like Stork Club really help us stand out to top-tier candidates and set us apart from other firms.”

Still, there are measures employers can – and should – take to ensure employees are aware of and utilizing the benefits that are available to them, said Cherner.

Routine benchmarking can help employers identify underutilized benefits in addition to gaps in their existing offerings. Focus groups with employees can help employers better understand why benefits are underutilized and identify solutions to improve usage. Solutions may include training to increase awareness of benefits and initiatives to bring benefits, such as a doctor, to the workplace.

Cherner’s advice to companies looking to strengthen their family-friendly policies is simple: listen to your employees.

“It’s really important to have a formal mechanism to hear from employees directly about what they need and what they don’t have access to,” she said. “A little bit goes a long way, especially in the United States where benefits like family leave aren’t subsidized by the government.”

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.