Work is complex. So are the lives of today’s workers.
Employers understand that the 21st century workplace requires a culture that encourages and supports flexibility. That’s why the smartest businesses have redefined where, when and how people do their best work.
Businesses are pioneering new environments that focus on results and are creating flexible schedules that encourage greater autonomy. As a result, they're seeing higher employee retention rates and greater productivity.
Who are these model employers and how can you learn from them?
The Sloan Award recognizes organizations across the U.S. for their innovative and effective workplace practices. In 2012, 352 organizations were recognized with Sloan Awards for their Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility.
How can you create an award-winning workflex program for your worksite, or do you already have one? Share your ideas and ask the award winners.
Please join @weknownext at 3 p.m. ET on May 1 for a #Nextchat about award-winning flexible workplaces with the following Sloan Award winners:
- Allison Karl O'Kelly of Mom Corps (@AllisonOKelly)
- Lora Geiger of Turck (@LifeWorksTurck)
- Rod Lacey of 1-800 Contacts (@contactsjobs)
- Delta Emerson of Ryan, LLC (@DeltaEmerson)
Q1. What are the ingredients of an award-winning workflex program?
Q2. How do you build a culture that encourages and supports workplace flexibility?
Q3. In what innovative ways is your organization implementing workflex?
Q4a. How can employers benefit from a well-constructed and properly managed workflex program?
Q4b. Question for the winners: How has winning a Sloan award helped your organization?
Q5. What new trends do you see emerging in workflex?
Q6. How do you convince the hesitant CEO to implement a workflex policy?
Q7. Why is performance management so critical to a successful workflex program?
Winning Site: Atlanta, GA, 10 Employees
Mom Corps, a professional staffing firm that specializes in flexible workplace
solutions, offers that same flexibility to its own employees. Such a
commitment to flexibility has enabled employees to find a healthy synthesis
between their work and personal lives. This has resulted in a happy and loyal
workforce with less stress and conflict at work and at home. The company is
100% virtual and all employees are able to work from home thanks to robust
technology. Various software suites from Microsoft store documents centrally
so that all employees can reach them and provide e-mail, instant messaging,
video chat, web conferencing, call forwarding and shared calendars. Employees
are also encouraged to manage their work hours by taking time off
after a large time-consuming project is over. Flexibility has been instrumental
in helping Mom Corps achieve its business goals. The company has grown to
include 18 franchises and was named to the Inc. 500/5000 list for fastest
growing companies in the U.S.
Manufacturing and Product Development
Winning Site: Twin Cities, MN (Campus Drive), 126 Employees
As a leading manufacturer in industrial automation, TURCK, Inc. shows
that work-life practices are anything but automatic. In April 2010, it announced
that teleworking was available to everyone. TURCK, Inc. encourages
employees to work with their supervisors to see how their jobs would be
enhanced by teleworking and flexible scheduling. This includes everything
from part-time work schedules to six month sabbaticals for reasons such as
spending time with children or elderly parent(s), traveling abroad, volunteering
to serve a community or charitable organization, taking a full-time educational
program, extending the transition period back from maternity leave
beyond FMLA or easing the transition into retirement. In addition, TURCK,
Inc. took a broader perspective toward its employees’ health and wellness
by instituting a free onsite clinic, prescriptions available at no cost, an onsite
well-being coach, regular seminars on work-life topics and an online
learning module called “From Stress to Resiliency” (from Working Family
Resources, 2010) to support efforts to overcome stress in new ways.
Direct-to-Consumer Retail Contact Business
Winning Site: Draper, UT, 830 Employees
1-800 CONTACTS has found a way to provide lots of flexibility within its
organization, even to call center employees who, typically, aren’t able to work
from home or have much control over their schedules. The company has provided
many call center employees with at-home workstations and offers over
200 shifts to call center employees who work onsite. Veterans receive extra
flexibility and are allowed to work part time as they transition back into civilian
life. The families of military members families are given extra flexibility
on a case-by-case basis and offered up to six weeks of personal leave upon
request. Employees have access to subsidized meals, low cost medical plans
and emergency financial assistance; these programs are especially helpful
to low-wage employees. Video conferencing, laptops and Smartphones help
employees work remotely. Summer family picnics, movie events and an associate
fitness center have improved morale. Hundreds of employees enrolled
in a personal finance training session offered last year. Leadership is convinced
that these measures have had a positive impact on productivity and
health insurance renewal rates. 1-800 CONTACTS rarely has to advertise
open job positions—80% of applicants come from employee referrals.
793 Employees in the U.S.
This multi-site professional tax services firm has demonstrated a deep commitment to workplace flexibility for its employees that goes back to 2008. CEO Brint Ryan realized that things needed to change because of a loss of what he calls the “shining stars.” He realized the firm was creating a “sweat-shop reputation” and they needed to do “something truly radical.” The result is called myRyan. It enables employees to work wherever they want, whenever they want, as long as their work responsibilities are met. At Ryan, there is no defined organization-wide schedule, no minimum hours and no requirement that work be done in the office. Instead of tracking hours spent at work, employees are held responsible for their performance and results. By tracking client service scores, revenues, leadership, core competencies and other firm-wide initiatives through an online dashboard called myRyan Measures, employees can easily track their performance. Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Delta Emerson says, “We focus completely on our people getting done what they’re supposed to be getting done. myRyan is built on results.” This focus on results, quantified by a “score,” means that Ryan employees are responsible for creating and managing their performance and their schedules. Maintaining a high score has replaced the need to work a certain number of billable hours, which is the traditional metric by which professional service firms are measured. All employees are given laptops, access to phone conference bridges, WebEx meeting tools, voice mail, video conferencing and other technology tools that allow them to work with total flexibility. Ryan has also taken a number of steps to improve work for young employees, employees nearing retirement and for military members and their families. Ryan recently implemented an 18-month development track for senior consultants, usually in their 20’s, who wish to transition to more senior management roles within the firm. At the other end of the career spectrum, employees nearing retirement have the option of slowly reducing the number of hours they work per week. And for employees serving in the military, Ryan pays the salary differential (between employee and military pay) and keeps employees’ benefits in tact while on duty. When military members return from duty, they are allowed whatever flexibility they need as they transition back into civilian life. Flexibility is also sought for support staff. Executive assistants work with their executives to identify days that they can work from home, for example, when an executive is traveling or when an assistant is working on a project that could be completed remotely. These flexibility options have resulted in a more positive and comfortable work environment—turnover is low, employee satisfaction has increased, the cost of benefits is lower than average and revenues and client satisfaction scores are high. Ryan is currently involved in a research program with Boston College and Life Meets Work to further improve its flexibility program by equipping managers with better workplace flexibility training. Ryan has also demonstrated its commitment to philanthropy; since 2005, employees have donated over $4 million dollars to various charities and the company recently formed the Ryan Foundation, a 501(c)(3) focused on helping organizations that address health, poverty and distress, and educational needs