Flexibility And Trust Go Hand-In-Hand At Top Northeast Ohio Employers: Top Workplaces 2017

Flexible work hours made it feasible for Alissa Tyminski and her husband to grow both their family and their menagerie of pets.

A few years ago, Tyminski was verging on burnt out between her job as a veterinary technician at an emergency clinic and a new baby at home. Then a former colleague told her about Embrace Pet Insurance, a Warrensville Heights-based business that offers employees a notable amount of freedom when it comes to when, where and how they work.

Now a claims adjuster at Embrace, Tyminski works from home in Sagamore Hills two days a week. When she does make the trip into the office, she arrives between 6 and 6:30 a.m. She can work a full day and still make it home to relieve her daughters’ nanny in the mid-afternoon. And she can bring along the youngest member of the Tyminski household, an English Labrador puppy named Stormtrooper.

Without workplace flexibility, she said, life might be very different.

“I don’t think I probably would have had a second child,” said Tyminski, 35, the mother of 4-year-old Addyson and 8-month-old Everly. “It just would not have been possible.”

Embrace, a decade-old company that surpassed 100 employees in May, ranks among Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces due, at least in part, to its pliancy.

And it’s far from the only company on this year’s list of 150 top-ranked employers to get high marks from workers who value wiggle room. Versions of the word “flexible” appear more than 360 times in employees’ responses to a survey question about why they love their jobs.

Those answers make it clear that flexibility isn’t simply a matter of malleable hours or the ability to work remotely. It’s also about confidence and communication between employers and employees, who repeatedly said they appreciate being part of big decisions while being allowed to tackle more mundane responsibilities without micromanagement.

“We feel as though the more trust and flexibility you give an employee, the higher their engagement will be,” said Ashley Qualls, human resources manager for Embrace.

That’s why the company puts no limits on paid time off. If an employee needs a break – for a family commitment, a vacation or a mental health day – that’s okay. The typical Embrace employee might take three or four weeks off during the year, Qualls said, though the company only recently implemented a system to formally track usage.

“Most employees will give you everything they have if you allow them to make the right decisions,” said Angie Staedt, director of employee relations at ThenDesign Architecture, Ltd., a Willoughby-based firm making its first appearance on the Top Workplaces list.

Read the full story at Cleveland.com.