(Oct. 31, 2018) Catherine Read interviews Stephanie Berkowitz, Executive Director of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) along with George Lane, chair of the NVFS CARE Awards Advisory Committee. They discuss the 23 year history of the NVFS Care Awards, what makes an employer eligible for an award, along with the upcoming awards event in November.
Dating back to 1992, the NVFS Care Awards have been given to employers in the Northern Virginia region who demonstrate a great deal of emphasis on investment in employees, as well as best practices regarding making work “family friendly”. NVFS noticed an increased level of work related stress, and wanted to raise awareness amongst employers that their work policies could have a direct impact on employees and their families. NVFS also had the goal of promoting the fact that it is more profitable to invest in employees and retain them, as high employee turnover can be costly to the bottom line.
When the awards were established, many of the policies revolved around flexible work schedules and telecommuting, which was new thanks to the advent of the Internet. Over the years other goals have been added, such as low cost health insurance, flexible work schedules, strong work/life balance, and new this year corporate social responsibility. Studies have shown that employees really want their employers to be good corporate citizens, and give back to the community and are socially engaged.
Additionally, now that the workforce employs people from multiple generations, a flexible work schedule can mean more than just working from home. A millennial might want to leverage technology to get their work done remotely, a baby boomer might want to work four, ten hour days and have an extra day off and a Gen X-er might need more flexibility to come in late or leave early for their children’s activities at school, or to accompany an elderly parent to the doctor. It is important for employers to remain flexible and understanding to their employees’ needs, while still maintaining business and ensuring that work is able to get done in a timely manner.
In order to be eligible for an NVFS Care Award, an employer must go through a rigorous 3-part process. First they must submit a written application, then their employees take a survey, and finally someone from the NVFS Care Awards advisory committee will do a site visit. Where they used to only award one winner to each category of business, the awards have evolved over time and NVFS now grants awards to all employers who meet the objectives.
This year there are 23 companies receiving awards, and the winners will be recognized at the NVFS Care Awards Breakfast on November 8th at the Sheraton Premier in Tysons Corner. The morning will begin at 7:30am with a networking opportunity for businesses, where they can talk and discuss best practices. They will then get down to business with the recognitions. Berkowitz and Lane are thrilled to award 13-time winner National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and 10-time winners Custom Ink and Consumer Technology Association their awards, along with the other 20 companies who will be getting called up. They will also host an Community Engagement Panel discussion moderated by Charlie Niebauer of the Washington Business Journal, and featuring Charles Kuhn of JK Moving and Storage, Sheila Murphy of Flex Professionals, and Darcy Smith of Custom Ink.