By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

“August unemployment in Hawai`i fell two tenths to 2.8 percent, restoring the state to the lowest jobless rate of any state in the nation,” Howard Dicus reported recently for “Pacific Business News.” The article continued with some particulars about Kaua`i quoting Dr. Leroy Laney, the consulting economist for First Hawaiian Bank who spoke at the Kaua`i Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly dinner in September. “Traditionally, neighbor island jobless rates are higher than Oahu’s, but that gap is closed now for Kaua`i,” said Laney. “Everyone everywhere on Kaua`i mentions not being able to find employees,” he continued. “Kauai’s rate drop in unemployment has been even more dramatic than the state as a whole.”

That said, it’s critical for today’s employers to think out of the box and be progressive in both recruiting and keeping employees. One of the most effective PR moves businesses can make today in meeting their workforce’s needs is to support their employees who are parents. That might mean having flexible work hours that coincide with school schedules; allowing employees with small children to telecommute; permitting parents to bring their children to work and providing a child-friendly workplace; or subsidizing child care costs. All of these ideas won’t work for all workplaces or all employees, but even implementing one concept might enable a business to attract or keep an employee, which today, is worth a lot.

Here are a few real-life examples: a hotel that has an on-demand virtual concierge. The concierge is actually at home with her children and when prompted, goes to her computer and is available to hotel visitors when they need her. A radio station that has a play area set up at the station so employees can bring their children to work; the same station allows sales representatives to work from home. A utility that has a paid, merit-based internship program that allows employees’ children to spend their summers and holidays gaining job experience where their parents work.

If you do implement one of these ideas or a unique way to support employees who are parents, tell the world about it because a workplace that embraces its employees’ children is likely to be one that has a stable workforce and a loyal customer following. Include the benefit in your classified ads, company newsletters, news releases, and the like and reap the PR rewards.

NOTE: This column was inspired by the birth of Talen Koerte, who came into the world on Sept. 22, making Joy Miura Koerte a proud new mom. Congratulations to the Miura and Koerte families on their new addition!

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