Working Mother Media has published its 20th annual list of the best places for mothers to work, the “2005 Working Mother 100 Best Companies.” Advisors may at first wonder why we are highlighting this. The reasons are threefold: First, what’s good for working mothers is good for working fathers, and of course, for the children. Second, there are ideas here that advisors may want to incorporate into their own firms–and with the freedom that comes with running or participating in a smaller business, independent advisors may find that implementing some of the ideas may be lots easier than it is at some of the mega-firms that won the awards. Third, some of these ideas may help advisors retain valued employees, building goodwill and at the same time enabling them to focus more intently on work–and viola!–boosting productivity.

At a luncheon during the “100 Best Companies WorkLife Congress” October 19 in New York, Working Mother honored the first set of inductees into its “100 Best Hall of Fame.” Companies had “to be on the list for 15 or more years, and be selected for the 2005 100 Best Companies list,” says Carol Evans, CEO and founder, Working Mother Media. Among the 15 companies that achieved this honor were six financial companies: Allstate, American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, Lincoln Financial, and Prudential Financial.

Where do small companies fit in? Glad you asked. Some of the programs big companies have in place can work well for small companies too. Job sharing, tele-commuting, on-site, off-site, back-up, and summer childcare have been around for some time. Longer, paid, maternity, paternity and family leaves have gained in popularity as well. Eldercare support is one of the next big issues that companies are looking into. “A lot of small companies are really leading the way in flexibility programs, companies with 5-100 employees,” according to Evans. That’s why Working Mother is evaluating small companies for a new list, “Working Mother Best Small Companies.” Stay tuned for that list. Until then, for the full list and ideas that may work for your firm, please go to www.workingmother.com/100BEST_2005.html.