The Dave Thomas Foundation, one of the largest adoption advocacy nonprofit organizations in the country, recently released its annual report on adoption-friendly workplaces in the United States.

The report is based on a survey conducted with the help of RTI International. The yearly Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace Survey can be an important resource for any family considering adoption, as well as a catalyst for improvement of adoption benefits in businesses across the country.

More and more, employers are realizing that supporting their workforce is vital to successful operations. This can mean a more flexible schedule, better healthcare benefits, more competitive pay or an encouraging office environment. While we cheer for all advances in the workplaces that benefit the lives of employees, we see adoption-friendly management practices as particularly worthy of celebration.

Adoption-friendly benefits and programs are still flying under the radar for many companies. Reports like this from the Dave Thomas Foundation are an opportunity to bring adoption-friendly business practices into the spotlight and, hopefully, more into the mainstream of American business culture.

Here are a few highlights from the 2019 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list.

An Artificial Intelligence Company Leads the Way

Tech industry leaders believe almost unanimously that artificial intelligence will be a core building block of the future. We’d like to believe that adoption-friendly workplaces will have a central role in the future as well, so it’s good to see the two coming together in The Dave Thomas Foundation’s report.

NVIDIA, a Santa Clara, Calif., tech company that specializes in artificial intelligence, was ranked as the best adoption-friendly workplace in the country for the second year in a row. Based on the report, this company truly goes above and beyond to support adoption.

Along with developing a company culture that supports adoption, NVIDIA has two standout workplace benefits:

  • Up to 20 weeks parental leave for newly adoptive parents
  • Unlimited financial assistance for adoption-related expenses

Those are jaw-dropping benefits, and they made the team at American Adoptions pretty happy. It would be wonderful if more companies strived to support adoptive families like this.

VMLY&R Ranks No. 1 in the Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations Category

One way the report breaks down adoption-friendly workplaces is by industry. VMLY&R received top honors in advertising, marketing and public relations. American Adoptions is based in Overland Park, Kansas, on the southwest corner of Kansas City. It’s short drive up to the corporate headquarters of VMLY&R, a global advertising agency with a home base in Kansas City. We applaud our fellow Kansas Citians’ commitment to supporting adoption!

Companies of All Sizes Can Be Adoption-Friendly

Take a quick glance at the top 100 list and you’ll notice some industry giants — American Express, Capital One, Nielson, Bank of America. But being an adoption-friendly workplace isn’t exclusive to large companies. An organization of any size can make decisions that support adoption.

Take CauseLabs, for instance. CauseLabs is among the top-ranked adoption-friendly workplace with less than 100 employees. This team helps companies scale through strategy, design and software development. With a core team of only eight people, CauseLabs was still able to be ranked as the second most adoption-friendly workplace of companies with less than 100 employees.

If they can do it, your team can, too.

What Makes an Adoption-Friendly Workplace?

It’s up to all of us to make the world a better place for adoption. You can influence change in your workplace through advocacy or management decisions. Managers, especially, have the power to enact policies that will significantly benefit the lives of employees.

Unfortunately, we know that many managers won’t make these choices. Too many workplaces are dominated by fealty to immediate return on investment, and creating an adoption-friendly workplace can look expensive, at least on a spreadsheet. But if you can look up from the spreadsheet and into the faces of your employees, you’ll see the value immediately.

Dave Thomas put it best when he explained that his companies implanting adoption-friendly practices was simply just, “the right thing to do.”

Do you want your company to be more adoption-friendly? These are a few of the best ways for an organization to support adoption.

  • Paid Adoption Leave: Does your company have paid parental leave, but not specifically paid adoption leave? Establishing adoption leave is an obvious first step toward an adoption-friendly workplace. Families are made in many different ways, and all are equally valid and beautiful. Just as a mother or father should have the ability to be with their newborn after a biological birth, so too should adoptive parents have that time following placement.
  • Adoption Financing Support: The organizations on the top of the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list all provide some sort of additional financial support to employees pursuing adoption. The costs associated with the adoption process are often too much for a family to handle on their own. There are loans, grants and fundraising options to help with this. As an employer, you can step in and help, too. This is a small investment in the grand scheme of your business with an outsized impact on the lives of your employees.
  • Flexible Work Schedules: A lot of what happens with children is outside of our control. Kids are going to get sick, schedules are going to change and childcare is going to fall through. As a company, you can make life a little easier by offering a flexible work schedule. If you get in an hour late, make up the hour at some other point in the week. If you need to leave early for a daycare pickup, don’t sweat it. As a company, you’re barely losing any productivity and gaining a lot of goodwill.

These are only a few of the many ways a company can become an adoption-friendly workplace. Supporting family as an employer is always a worthwhile endeavor. If you’re inspired by this and would like to be featured on next year’s 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list, you can fill out the survey to be considered.