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Work/Life Balance

How Alston & Bird Improved Retention by 6 Percent

Posted Feb 25, 2008 2:06 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Altanta-based law firm that recently made a top 100 list of the best companies to work for explains how it helped improve employee retention in an article published in Business Law Today, a publication of the ABA Section of Business Law.

Alston & Bird’s retention rate jumped by 6 percent at its Atlanta office after it opened a nearby child-care center for the children of law firm employees, according to the article. The authors are Cathy Benton, the chief human resources officer at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, and Nicole Brown, a benefits assistant.

Alston & Bird was one of five law firms that recently made Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 best places to work. The magazine praised the firm for “super benefits, including 90 days of paid maternity leave, coverage of fertility treatments, and concierge services.”

The firm opened the day-care center within walking distance of its Atlanta office in 2001. It provides full and part-time care as well as back-up care when child-care arrangements fall through. Employees pay the going rate to use the center, although scholarships are offered for lower-paid staffers.

The firm has offered different solutions at other, smaller offices, where it has reserved spaces at existing child-care centers for employees who can’t find quality child-care. The program is a result of a partnership with Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a company that specializes in providing care across multiple locations. The firm also works with Bright Horizons to find back-up care or to send a home health care professional to watch a sick child.

“Offering work/life benefits can ease the tensions and anxieties related to life's daily challenges and, in particular, with child care,” the article says. “Providing the right resources results in more engaged and loyal employees who are committed to the goals of the enterprise. It is an investment in the future and an important element in the retention of lawyers, managers and staff.”

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