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First Union Named Among '100 Best Companies For Working Mothers'

Submitted by: First Union Corporation

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: Sep 05, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST


Company Pilots New Telecommuting Program

Sep. 05 /CSRwire/ - Working Mother magazine named First Union as one of America's "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" today, including the company on the list for the 5th year. Working Mother selected First Union for the award using the following criteria: child care, leave for new parents, flexible work arrangements, work/life benefits such as elder care, and opportunities for women to advance.

Editors looked at a range of supportive company offerings, including health insurance premiums, availability of time off to care for sick kids, mentoring programs and extras such as on-site gyms and other conveniences. The award is based on progress the company made in its work/life programs during 1999. Highlights of First Union's advancements in the work/life arena include:

Alternative Work Place (AWP) - First Union focused on building an infrastructure of training, HR, real estate, and technology resources to mainstream the transition to remote work, including telecommuting and mobile work. Five business units and 800 employees piloted AWP last year after spending a week in training before leaving the office. AWP's goal is to make the transition to remote work easy and to increase the number of remote workers. Currently, 12,300 employees have remote access to First Union. The company partnered with Dell Computers to offer employees a 40 percent discount on home PCs, along with a financing program that makes owning a home computer affordable for virtually every interested employee.

Accountabilities for Women's Advancement - First Union has a Diversity Scorecard that measures senior leadership representation, employee turnover and employee satisfaction. In 1999, the company's new CEO took over as head of the Corporate Diversity Council and developed specific accountabilities for monitoring the advancement of women and people of color among senior management positions.

Training Addressing Work/Life Behaviors - In 1999, First Union launched Leadership Discovery, an innovative training series focused on developing leadership skills, incorporating Dr. Stephen Covey's teachings that employees perform best when their personal and professional lives are working in concert. In its training for new managers, the company added a new work-life component teaching the three behaviors of effective work-life leaders and the connection between these behaviors and employee retention and performance. More than 800 leaders are enrolled in the training, which takes 9-12 months to complete.

Paid Time Away To Volunteer in School - To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Education First program in 1999, First Union staged the largest volunteer literacy event any corporation has ever undertaken. First Union volunteers read Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go aloud to more than 2 million students in more than 75,000 classrooms from Florida to Connecticut and donated 100,000 books to local schools. As a result of this event, the company's school reading partnerships increased from 250 to 881.

Expanded Employee Satisfaction Survey - Last year, First Union increased the number of work-life questions in its annual employee satisfaction survey to assess how employees use and value work-life programs and rate their managers on specific work-life leadership behaviors. Seventy-two percent of First Union employees said that their work schedule allows sufficient flexibility to meet personal/family needs (up from 69 percent the previous year and better than the U.S. norm among high performing companies of 58 percent).

Financial Consulting Available - Through its toll-free service, LifeWorks, the company began offering employees financial consultation last year to get education on credit management, budget analysis and assistance resolving financial difficulties. In addition, employees may consult with LifeWorks affiliated financial planners and have access to tax specialists for tax planning and preparation and/or referrals to tax preparation organizations.

Expanded Onsite Childcare - In 1999, First Union added a fourth school to its onsite childcare center in Charlotte. The company now has seven onsite centers in three cities, Charlotte, Roanoke and Philadelphia, with the capacity to serve 820 children. Tuition is based on family income in order to make quality care available to all employees.

Mothers' Rooms Expanded- The company expanded its Mothers' Rooms to a total of 17 in seven cities last year. Rooms are equipped with privacy screens, upholstered chairs, nursing stools, sinks and key or card access to give privacy to nursing mothers who express their milk during working hours for later feedings.

First Union (NYSE:FTU), with $258 billion in assets and stockholders' equity of $14 billion at June 30, 2000, is a leading provider of financial services to 15 million retail and corporate customers throughout the East Coast and the nation. The company operates full-service banking offices in 12 East Coast states and Washington, D.C., and full-service brokerage offices in 41 states. Online banking products and services can be accessed through www.firstunion.com.

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