Workplace Spotlight: Round Rock Express Baseball Club
Published: May 23, 2018
Developing a worksite lactation program is a simple and inexpensive way to support employees who chose to breast feed. Lactation support programs are good not only for your employees, but also good for your business. Implementing a policy can improve employee and family health, reduce healthcare costs, reduce sick-time and absenteeism, help retain experienced employees, and boost morale and productivity! For more information, please go to our website.
The Round Rock Express Baseball Club is a family-owned business established in 2000 that is the Triple-A Affiliate of the Texas Rangers and plays their games at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, TX. The Round Rock Express shows their support of families, for employees and fans alike, with access to their “Lactation Station,” a designated, private space where moms can go to breast feed or express breast milk, located on the third base concourse of Dell Diamond. This level of support makes bringing families to the games easy and less stressful.
As Round Rock Express’ first employee to have the need to express breast milk while separated from her baby during the work day, Laura Fragoso, the Senior Vice President of Marketing, has first-hand experience with nursing and expressing while working full-time. She highlighted how receptive management was to listen to her needs and accommodate her to be able to pump at work back in 2012. “Work[ing] in an originally male-dominated field, it was really cool to see them go above and beyond [to make sure] I would be comfortable,” said Laura. Today, almost half of the full-time staff members are females.
Laura was able to bring her daughter with her to work and work in smaller increments until she was ready to come back full time. “There are more and more companies that are looking at flexibility in the same way and it’s great!” she said. “It made a big difference to me to be able to get back into the groove of everything without leaving my baby [so soon after birth].”
“The quality of life of our staff is something we take very seriously,” Express General Manager Tim Jackson said. “Family is a top priority in our organization, so to be able to provide flexibility for our employees to spend time with their loved one is important.”
Like others, Laura expected some challenges in the process of creating a designated space, but was immediately met with encouragement and support from her senior staff. Fittingly, her advice to those who might be afraid to ask for lactation support is that “You might be surprised at how often employers would be extremely supportive,” she says. “It doesn’t hurt to ask!”
Providing a lactation support program in the workplace has demonstrated benefits for both employees and for businesses. For example, lactation support programs can increase employee retention, which in turn can reduce turnover expenses. It can also make the company more appealing to work for when it comes to recruiting future employees. Laura went on to highlight how both parents are often working while raising children and having the flexibility to make arrangements such as these for parents can keep the employee culture healthy. “People appreciate [the effort] and when they feel appreciated [in turn], they’re going to want to stay and do an even better job for you,” said Laura. “You’ll keep the best employees much longer.”
Laura was inspired to pioneer the creation of such a space for fans to nurse or pump during baseball games at Dell Diamond after noticing an increasing number of available nursing rooms in public areas. As the organization had already offered employees the space and flexibility required for nursing or expressing, it was an easy decision to expand their lactation support program and create a designated space for fans in 2017. Although The Round Rock Express Club policy welcomes mothers to breast feed in any public location at Dell Diamond, the designated space provides privacy for mothers who request it.
In partnership with the St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, the Round Rock Express decided to renovate one of their family restrooms at Dell Diamond by removing the toilet and adding amenities and to turn it into a designated nursing space called the “Lactation Station.” The room is air-conditioned, private, provides a sink, toys to entertain siblings, and a TV for fans who don’t want to miss out on the game they came to watch. The room even has heavy-duty curtains strategically placed so that multiple moms can use the space at the same time and still have privacy.
“We get comments all the time on social media and [comments] emailed directly to me of just how thankful [fans] are to have the Lactation Station. From July through August it gets really hot sometimes and to have a comfortable place to nurse a baby is also very important,” said Laura.
The Round Rock Express Baseball Club is one example of an organization that demonstrates their dedication to employee and customer families. The effort the organization has dedicated to making sure families who choose to breast feed are supported is crucial in helping mothers reach their personal breast feeding goals.
The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program is here to assist Texas businesses with planning and developing a worksite lactation support policy and program. If you have any questions or are interested in becoming designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Claire Adkins, Graduate Assistant for TMFW-TASP
Photos provided by: Round Rock Express Baseball Club