2017 When Work Works Award Winners Announced

By Cassidy Solis May 24, 2017
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Last week, SHRM announced the winners of the 2017 When Work Works Award. The winners provide insight into the practices of effective and flexible workplaces and emerging trends. Paid monthlong sabbaticals, child care subsidy programs and customized work schedules are some of the ways winners of the 2017 When Work Works Award exemplify model workplaces across the U.S. with innovative workplace practices. The winners are changing the norms of work and the workplace by restructuring how, when and where work gets done in ways that work for employees while also achieving and improving organizational success. There are 298 award winners from 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Here's a sampling of some of the winners' offerings:

  • Bora Architects Inc., Portland, Ore.—Designed its own award-winning beach house that is available to all staff for rest and renewal. The workplace is designed to encourage collaboration firm-wide and among teams, with no private offices and all furniture on wheels to give staff the option to reconfigure their workspaces to support individual and collective work style preferences.
  • Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C., Little Rock, Ark.—Allows employees to customize their work schedules to fit their needs and goals. Examples include working compressed schedules that result in a three-day weekend every other week, working alternate schedules and working from home when needed.
  • EvoText, Inc., Burlington, Mass.—Offers a flexible transition period for mothers and fathers after a child is born and for parents who have adopted a child.
  • hrQ, Denver, Colo.—Encourages employees to take time off as needed; there are no set work hours or locations.
  • iHire LLC, Frederick, Md.—Has a results-only work environment culture, with employees having 100 percent control over where and when they work.
  • Mahoney Ulbrich Christiansen & Russ, St. Paul, Minn.—Promotes a culture in which everyone is a coach and everyone has a coach. This enhances communication and promotes discussion about development and individual goals.
  • Morris Financial Concepts Inc., Mount Pleasant, S.C.—Provides each employee with a paid, monthlong sabbatical once every five years. The time off is to be taken all at once so the employee completely disconnects from work to "rejuvenate and recharge."
  • Northwest Lineman Training Center, Denton, Texas—Provides new parents with a customized time-off and re-entry plan, rather than asking them to follow a set policy.
  • Onsite Innovations, Mount Laurel, N.J.—Reviews each position to evaluate work-from-home capability, so flexibility is formalized for every new hire in the first month of employment.
  • Peckham, Inc., Lansing, Mich.—Has a culture of "YES" that makes it possible for employees and supervisors to talk openly about work/life needs and come up with solutions that work for both the employee and the nonprofit. It is also a pet-friendly workplace—dogs, rabbits and marmocets welcome!
  • Phase 2, Oklahoma City, Okla.—Offers employees the ability to work anytime, anywhere. On "Productivity Fridays," everyone works from the place where they are most productive and effective.
  • Roth Staffing Companies, Portland, Ore.—Offers a 9/80 flex schedule where employees can opt to work 80 hours over the course of nine days instead of the typical 10 and take every other Friday off (26 three-day weekends each year).
  • Ryan, LLC, Sacramento, Calif.—Measures employees on results achieved, not on hours worked. Employees can choose where and when they want to work day to day.
  • The Climate Trust, Portland, Ore.—Ensures that employees in all key areas are cross-trained to allow for coverage when staffers participate in its sabbatical program.
  • TowerPinkster, Kalamazoo, Mich.—Offers phased retirement, assists with all fees associated with obtaining licensure and offers internships.
  • XPLANE, Portland, Ore.—Offers employees up to $200 monthly for expenses related to work/life balance, such as baby-sitting, dog walking and housekeeping.

The awards recognize organizations that have created effective workplaces based on seven evidence-based components that are linked with positive employee and employer outcomes, according to SHRM's Effective Workplace Index. Those components are autonomy; work/life fit; supervisor task support for job success; satisfaction with wages, benefits and opportunities to advance; job challenge and learning opportunities; and a culture of respect, trust and belonging.

The When Work Works Award is part of SHRM's When Work Works project, a national initiative to help employers of all sizes and types become more successful by transforming the way they view and adopt effective and flexible workplaces. When Work Works is one of the foremost providers of resources, rigorous research and best practices on workplace effectiveness and flexibility in the nation.

To learn more, view an interactive map that lists winning organizations by state, view a list of winners by name and see emerging trends of 2017 winners. 

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