SHRM CEO Advocates value of Workplace Flexibility

May 22, 2012

SHRM CEO Advocates value of Workplace Flexibility
Jackson tells congressional briefing that flexible practices are a business imperative that benefit both employers and employees

Washington, D.C. May 22, 2012 —Workplace flexibility practices are a business imperative that help employees meet their work and life responsibilities and help employers respond to the competitive global marketplace, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) told Congress today.

“The truth is that workplace flexibility is good for people. The business truth is that it’s good for the bottom line,” SHRM President and CEO Henry G. (Hank) Jackson said at a briefing at the U.S. Capitol.

Flexible strategies — such as telecommuting, flextime, part-time work, job sharing and compressed schedules — boost productivity, increase employee engagement and morale, lower turnover and absenteeism, and lower overhead costs, he said.

Jackson spoke during the congressional briefing “Creating a 21st Century Workplace for a 21st Century Workforce,” which was moderated by Kathleen Christensen of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a leading expert on workplace flexibility. In “Work, Family and Workplace Flexibility” published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Christensen described how many American workers are experiencing a tension between their work and family responsibilities.

In an initiative to educate HR professionals on how to implement flexibility strategies, SHRM and its partner, the Families and Work Institute, share cutting-edge research and highlight best practices through the “When Work Works” program and the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility.

SHRM believes that current labor law hinders innovation. With outdated labor laws and a dramatically changing workforce, the United States needs a 21st century workplace flexibility policy that meets the needs of both employees and employers.

“Labor laws have not kept pace with the evolving needs of today’s diverse, adaptable and mobile workforce,” Jackson said. “The HR profession advocates a flexibility policy that for the first time responds to the diverse needs of employees and employers, a policy that reflects different work environments, types of industries and organizational sizes.”

The 260,000-member SHRM has created a set of principles to guide the development of such a workplace flexibility public policy. The principles call for public policy that encourages employers to voluntarily offer paid leave and other flexible work options.

The briefing — supported by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho — also included John C. Parry Jr., CEO of Solix, Inc., a winner of Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Kate Kennedy at and 703-535-6260. Follow the Twitter hashtag #workflex.

SHRM’s “Principles for a 21st Century Workplace Flexibility Policy” is available online at

About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at
and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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