Trends Emerging from Winners of 2018 When Work Works Award

November 5, 2018
Winners of the Society for Human Resource Management's 2018 When Work Works Award provide insight into the practices of effective workplaces and emerging trends.

Themes emerging from this year’s winners include:

Building and Sustaining Positive Workplace Cultures

  • At N2 Publishing in Wilmington, N.C., trust, understanding, civility and belonging are all part of N2’s culture. The N2 Culture Deck, publicly lays out its core values. The company hires people who embody these values, and every company decision – from flexibility practices to new product creation – is based on how it aligns with the culture. When hiring, culture fit is a competency, not an extra. 
  • Marketing firm Click Rain in Sioux Falls, S.D., weaves its core values (balance, honesty and integrity, excellence, innovation, others before self, accountability, and stewardship) into all business transactions. All work is performed to support Click Rain's core values.
  • Fortune Title Agency in Roseland, N.J., hosts daylong meetings to discuss company values (family, integrity, accountability, support, compassion, drive, creativity, growth, gratitude, and humility) and has all employees provide examples of how they are demonstrated daily at work.

Commitment to Work-Based Learning Opportunities and Growing Talent in Their Communities

  • Access Development in Salt Lake City, Utah, has an “intrapreneuring" program that encourages  employees to submit and own new business ideas to advance organizational goals. 
  • Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz accounting firm in Camp Hill and Lancaster, Pa., offers the “BSSF High School Externship and Internship Programs” to give young people in the community a chance to learn about working in a public accounting firm. This includes both practical education and the ability to attend networking and social events with clients and vendors.
  • Software and services firm MacGregor Partners, LLC in Milwaukee provides yearlong internships to build talent in the community. It also provides tuition reimbursement and professional development money to employees who want to keep advancing in their careers.  
  • Manufacturing firm RMS Roller Grinder in Harrisburg, S.D., offers internships and participates in the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” video contest for middle school students, which is designed to excite and educate them about manufacturing. 
  • Accounting firm Sansiveri, Kimball & Co., LLP in Providence, R.I., provides every employee with a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education, fully paid, to allow them to keep up to date in their field and maintain their credentials. 

Parental-Leave Customization

  • Accounting firm DK Partners, PC in Austin, Texas, customizes parental leave on a case-by-case basis so it can offer more personalized flexibility to employees based on what is most important to them.
  • California CPA firm Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt LLP allows parents to take six weeks of leave anytime within the first year of their child’s life/adoption, allowing employees to be flexible and choose the time that works best for the family. The firm also allows parents to gradually return to work via part-time scheduling. Robust schedule flexibility allows parents the freedom to drop-off/pick-up their children from school/daycare and finish the workday at home, if necessary.  
  • At hrQ in Denver, employees are encouraged to work when and where they need to as a way to help employees achieve work-life fit. It is flexible about flexibility and looks at each employee situation to craft a custom solution that works for the employees and managers. 
  • At architecture firm TowerPinkster in Kalamazoo, Mich., all employees can set their own schedules and earn “work-life balance hours.” The commitment to customized scheduling extends to parental leave in a recognition that every situation is different. The firm also works with employees during transition times to craft schedules that work for business and employees.

ROI of Workflex, More Organizations Tracking Benefits of Workplace Flexibility

  • The American College of Education in Indianapolis saw a 50 percent reduction in turnover since 2016 and attributes it directly to the investment in building positive company culture and creating an environment that emphasizes work-life fit for employees. 
  • At nationwide consulting firm BDO, USA LLP, leaders believe flexibility is a means to effective business management, creatively structured teams and increased profitability.
  • Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning & HR Intelligence in Burlington, Vt., has experienced an increase in employee engagement and saved thousands of dollars in real-estate and facilities costs since implementing greater flexibility for its employees.

Outside-the-Box Offerings and Innovations

  • Cobec Consulting, Inc. in Washington, D.C., created “Months of Awesomeness,” that include team building events, lunch month and wellness month. Early this year, Cobec treated all employees and their families to a ski trip, which they say makes work feel like home.
  • DomainTools in Seattle hosts an annual four-day trip to Whistler, British Columbia, for employees and their families.
  • Nationwide consulting firm EisnerAmper offers its employees CTO (Costume Time Off) on Halloween.
  • Research and consulting firm Rho, Inc., in Chapel Hill, N.C., has an onsite complimentary employee concierge service to help employees with errands and services during the day.
  • Roth Staffing Companies in Portland, Ore., has “RAD Days” or “rest and decompression days” when employees can select days off that matter to them such as the day after Super Bowl.


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