Think sending an employee to a fashion show or a workshop about how to organize her home is an odd use of employee-benefit dollars? Employers like Minneapolis-based Landscape Structures and BankCherokee paid for some of their employees to do just such things, and welcomed them back rejuvenated and ready to work.
The employees participated in a two-day Mom-Camp, hosted by Wonderful U, an organization that arranges seminars, networking opportunities and retreats for working mothers.
Paying for employees to participate in the group’s once-a-year day camp or briefer year-round activities—or giving them paid time off to go—could serve as a “Happy Mother’s Day” perk from your organization to its working moms. And the event could even help them pick up new skills and recharge their batteries.
“If you have employees who have the opportunity to have life balance, you will have a more effective employee,” says Lynn Pinoniemi, marketing communications manager at Landscape Structures, a playground equipment maker. “If those employees can take one or two skills away from a seminar like this that allow them to have work/life balance or bring some tips from there into the workplace, [the company] would call that a success.”
More than 300 women attend Wonderful U’s three-year-old Mom-Camp every fall. Employers pick up the $150 tab in some cases.
Women of all ages—including a number of non-parents—spend their time learning how to make holiday decorations, expand their wardrobes on a budget, become better cooks, get in touch with their spirituality and improve their diets and exercise routines.
Mom-Camp co-founder Mary Kay DuChene cites studies that prove women who take time to connect with other women often work and parent better. (For details and classes, visit www.mom-camp.com.)