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Application Deadline Approaches for Sloan Work Flex Awards

By SHRM Online staff  4/25/2011
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Employers across the U.S. have until May 27, 2011, to submit applications for the at-large category of the 2011 Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility.

The awards are part of When Work Works, a research-based initiative from the Families and Work Institute (FWI), with whom the Society for Human Resource Management is partnering to recognize and promote innovative and effective workplace practices.

The Sloan Awards, which date back to 2005, highlight how effective and flexible workplaces can yield positive business results and help employees succeed at work and at home.

Programs may be formal or informal, and applications are open to for-profit and not-for-profit employers of all sizes and industries in the public and private sectors. Employers with more than one location may submit multiple applications for different worksites.

There is no minimum or maximum number of award recipients; in 2010 there were 373.

Employers singled out in 2010 ranged in size from Menlo Innovations, which has 15 employees at its winning Michigan worksite, to Bon Secours Health System (20,000, Virginia). Menlo created a sustainable workplace to avoid burnout; Bon Secours uses a phased retirement program.

The May 27 deadline also applies to employers in the following communities that partner with When Work Works, FWI’s research-based initiative:

  • Arizona.
  • Georgia.
  • Michigan.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Oregon.
  • Aurora and Denver, Colo.
  • Boise, Idaho.
  • Dallas.
  • Melbourne-Palm Bay, Fla.
  • Milwaukee.
  • Morris County, N.J.
  • Providence, RI.
  • Salt Lake City.
  • Twin Cities, Minn.

April 30 is the deadline for Houston; May 5 is Durham, N.C.’s deadline.

Eligibility requirements:

  • The organization must have been in operation for at least one year.
  • The organization must have a minimum of 10 employees working from or reporting to the worksite covered in the application. This does not include contract workers and consultants who are not reported to the IRS.
  • Applications must be submitted online.

Applications consist of two rounds. The first requires employers to complete an online questionnaire about their flexibility programs and practices for the worksite covered in the application.

The scoring methodology emphasizes employees’ experiences with their employer’s flexibility program. Also, the employer is compared to nationally representative samples collected in the FWI’s continuing National Study of Employers (NSE); the most recent one was in 2008. If the employer’s response ranks it among the top 20 percent of employers in the U.S. when compared with the NSE data, it moves to the finalist round.

The finalist round requires the employer’s employees to complete a 15-minute questionnaire on their use of their employer’s workplace flexibility program, the supportiveness of the workplace culture toward flexibility, and whether they perceive any negative consequences for using the flexibility program.

Employers with fewer than 250 workers at the worksite covered in the application must survey all employees. Employers with larger worksites must conduct a random sample of 250 employees; a 40 percent response rate is required.

One-third of the final score rests on the employer’s responses; two-thirds rests on employee responses to the questionnaire. The scoring process looks at the employer’s ability to demonstrate that workplace flexibility is used to meet business and employee goals, according to the application.

All applicants will receive a free copy of the Sloan Award Benchmarking Report on Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. Winners will be profiled in the annual Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work by the Families and Work Institute and SHRM.

Click here for an application. More information about the awards is available by sending an e-mail to

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