Nearly 300 U.S. employers have won the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Families and Work Institute (FWI) announced on Aug. 5.
The annual awards single out organizations that have created exemplary workplace environments that support employees’ need for flexibility. It is part of the When Work Works flexible-workplace initiative, a partnership between SHRM and the FWI.
Winning organizations range in size from as few as 10 employees to as many as 240,000 and are located in more than 250 communities across the U.S. The winners’ practices include traditional offerings such as telecommuting and more innovative approaches such as unlimited time off and allowing employees to control their hours.
For example, Noble-Davis Consulting Inc., in Cleveland, which has fewer than 20 employees, allows its workers to set their own schedules and has a phone system that enables the receptionist to work remotely. And Delta Airlines, with almost 75,000 employees, permits its workers to volunteer for community service during work hours and offers 12 weeks of partially paid paternity leave.
Southern California Gas Company has a SmartWork initiative that allows for flexible work hours, telecommuting, location flexibility and extended leave options. This is achieved through company intranet and hotel cubes called "touch downs,” SharePoint sites to work virtually as a team, conference calling, telepresence meeting rooms, and in-house instant messenger service.
“These employers are creating workplace cultures that foster the development of effective and flexible workplaces for their employees,” observed Lisa Horn, co-leader of SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative. “In the process they are experiencing positive business results and seeing more productive and happier employees.”
“In the eight years that we have been conducting these awards, I have been deeply impressed with the truly innovative solutions these winners have created,” said FWI President Ellen Galinsky.
Winners will be recognized at the FWI and SHRM 2013 Workflex Conference, taking place Oct. 29-30 in San Francisco, and profiled in the next edition of the annual Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work.
The award, which dates to 2005, is site-based. An organization that submits itself for consideration has to have been in business for at least one year and have at least 10 employees, excluding contract workers and consultants.
Winners went through a two-part application process. The first round required employers to complete a 22-page online questionnaire about the workplace-flexibility programs and practices at the work site that was nominated. Responses were gauged against the FWI's ongoing National Study of Employers.
Those ranking among the top 20 percent of employers in the U.S., when compared with FWI national data, advanced to the second round, which consisted of an employee questionnaire about individual use of and experience with workplace flexibility at their work site.
SHRM Online Workplace Flexibility Resource Page