Breast of the Best Places
The granddaddy may be at HMSA, where there is a high-end electronic pump, several curtained off areas with beds, a refrigerator and a sink with a boiling-hot water tap. While I am currently not in need of a facility such as HMSA's, there were three times in my life (the last time was with my current employer) when I really could have used a dedicated lactation room.
In 1993, I used to borrow the office of a colleague and former nursing mom. However, because of the demands of working in television, I also ended up pumping in the back of production vans and various public restrooms, as needed. In 1996, I was a Freedom Forum Asia Fellow at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I had a study carrel in Hamilton Library the size of a small closet that actually had a door that locked. However, for modesty, I had to tape paper across the one glass wall that faced into the library. I know the students studying there must have wondered about the mechanical sucking noises coming from behind the papered off glass. In 2001, I used to borrow the office of Jim Cook, who was then the publisher for Hawaii Home and Remodeling, a sister publication. Jim is a great guy. I would kick him out twice a day on a regular basis and he never even blinked an eyelash the day I apologized for the spill across the stacks of folders and papers on this desk (pump accidents happen!) that I had just wiped off as best as I could.
This is a long, personal way of saying how much I appreciate the best practices of our inaugural Top 25 Best Places to Work in Hawaii. While not all of you can relate to pumping breast milk, you can appreciate other practices, such as formal mission statements and organization values, different types of profit sharing, effective company communication and formal employee recognition programs. While every best company doesn't have every best practice, they do have quite a bit in common - not the least of which is having a clearly defined organizational culture, values and mission, which most employees buy into. And the employees show it by living it and working it, day in and day out.
Employees at great places to work feel valued by their employers and believe that what they say and do matters. They are motivated to do the best job possible and work with vision and understanding, because of clearly communicated expectations and recognition of jobs well done. Oh, and about the recognition part, how does job flexibility, cash bonuses, travel or food or some combination of those sound? It's out there. You just have to know where the Best Places to Work in Hawaii are.
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