Boly:Welch | Spotlight on Flexibility

October 12, 2013

Boly:Welch is a Portland-based consulting and recruiting firm focused on direct-hire and temporary job placements in Accounting, Office, Legal, HR, Technology, Marketing and Executive Search. Diane Boly and Pat Welch founded the firm in 1986 and their 32 employees support client needs across the wide range of industries representative of the Portland Metro area.

It pays you back, double.  The more you care about people’s lives, the more they give to you.

— Pat Welch, founder and owner of Boly:Welch


What is really unique about the way Boly:Welch does business?

Boly:Welch was founded by two working moms who have created an extremely caring and community-oriented workplace culture.  As one employee said, “the word FAMILY comes up a lot in our office.” There are many, many stories of times that the company has supported its employees in profound ways.

One employee was dying from cancer but needed to work. Boly:Welch kept her on, allowing her to work however many hours she could – but not reducing her pay – until the day she died. This level of emotional and financial support sent a message to other employees as well that they were valued and safe in their jobs.  Another unique policy is profit-sharing, whereby a chunk of each year’s profit is distributed to staff.  And because Boly:Welch tends to promote from within, people feel a real sense of job security and long-term commitment.

What family-friendly work/life policies does Boly:Welch provide?

Employees are able to adjust their schedule to meet their personal needs. Some people have flexible full-time schedules, while others work part-time.  Part-time workers receive comparable pay and benefits and have access to managerial positions.  In some cases, people have kept their full-time salaries but reduced their hours.

At Boly:Welch, 28% of employees are hourly. Hourly employees in the U.S. generally experience constantly challenging schedules, making it hard to plan for child care and other family commitments. Here, hourly employees know their schedule at least four weeks in advance and most have control over which shifts they work.

Everybody gets access to paid sick and vacation time right away when they start working for Boly:Welch, except the temporary workers (whom they place with clients) who have to work for a certain period before they can take paid time off from their posts.  When it comes to long-term family and medical leaves, employees have access to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave. They can use their accumulated PTO days on top of the unpaid time off.  They also have short-term disability which can help people access more pay during medical leaves.  Everyone is included in these time off policies, except temporary folks who are in short-term temporary assignments – but they will go to bat for the temp if they’re having issues with the employer.  They make sure the temp doesn’t lose his/her job when something comes up with their families.

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How are the Flexible Policies Implemented?

Employees at Boly:Welch all work together in a bullpen, including the owners. This encourages conversation and joint problem-solving about all kinds of work issues. The HR manager makes sure people know their benefits, and if an employee needs an accommodation or alternative schedule, they discuss what the employee needs and how to make it work. Together, they come up with a plan.  If the employee has the ability to remain successful in their job, Boly:Welch  “will move heaven and earth to make it happen.” No one has ever asked for an accommodation that has not been granted.

In addition, children and grandchildren are often in the office, especially on teacher in-service days.  Kids come in after school and do their homework. Boly:Welch accommodates people and they think outside the box to meet the employee situations that arise.

How do these Policies Benefit Boly:Welch?

In the words of owner Pat Welch:

It pays you back, double.  The more you care about people’s lives, the more they give to you. Everyone feels safe, they know they won’t lose their job. They can be themselves, they can make mistakes.  They’re not going to get laid off.  This is a big deal for people.  It also means that people are less anxious and less likely to screw up.

And in the words of owner Diane Boly:

Not everyone gets exactly the same accomodations, but everyone knows they will get what they need.  They know that Boly:Welch has their back.  And we [the owners] know that our employees have our back.

Employees Say…

The culture here is very caring.  I could go to Diane and Pat with any kind of problem, personal or work-related, and know they’d care.

Jen Lind, employee since 2001

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This content provided by Family Forward Education Fund.