2016 When Work Works Awards Honor Companies that Excel at Creating Effective Workplaces

Work/life fit policies, flexible scheduling and transition to parenthood programs among practices in place at award-winning companies

More than 300 workplaces of all sizes and across various industries are being honored as winners of the 2016 When Work Works Awards, the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced today. 

The awards honor organizations that have created effective workplaces based on six evidence-based components that are linked with positive employee and employer outcomes: autonomy; work/life fit; supervisor support for work success; satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement; opportunities for learning; and a culture of trust.

A total of 351 workplaces from across the country won awards this year. The winners are a diverse group. Some operate from a single office with a staff of 10, while others are large organizations with thousands of employees. They represent 43 states and the District of Columbia.

“These employers have excelled at creating effective workplaces yielding tremendously positive results for business success, as well as for their employees’ well-being and productivity,” said Ellen Galinsky, president of FWI. “Effective workplaces recognize that employees are an organization’s greatest resource and make a critical difference in the organization’s ability to not only survive, but to thrive.” 

The When Work Works Awards are unique for their rigorous, two-step selection process, which involves an evaluation of employers’ flexibility programs and practices and a confidential employee survey on the key ingredients of an effective and flexible workplace. The award also examines the real-life experiences of employees at their worksites as opposed to companywide policies. All applicants are measured against national norms from two representative studies—the National Study of Employers and the National Study of the Changing Workforce.

The five top worksites this year exemplify workplaces that “live” the six ingredients of effective workplaces:

1. Merjent Inc. – Minneapolis – Allows employees to manage their own workloads and work schedules and provides opportunities for formal and informal mentoring.

2. Custom Accounting and Tax PC – Cave Creek, Ariz. – Promotes a culture of flexibility and understands family is first. Has internship programs for high school and college students. 

3. BDO USA LLP – Raleigh, N.C. – Values work/life fit for employees and leverages flexibility as a tool for managing business and employee needs. Also hosts virtual employee networks where employees can learn from each other, ask questions, and share ideas and resources. 

4. capSpire Inc. – Tulsa, Okla. – Builds a culture of trust and autonomy; allows all employees to create schedules that work for employees and clients.

5. Designs For Learning – St. Paul, Minn. – Creates a culture of respect by encouraging open lines of communication between employees and supervisors. Also encourages employees to take vacations and guards against employee burnout by promoting a specific beginning and end to the workday.

As workplaces look for innovative ways to attract and retain the best employees, they’re focusing on efforts to encourage a better work/life fit in ways that work for employers and employees, such as making sure employees take vacation. For instance, Olark in San Francisco offers bonuses to employees who take vacation.

Other workplaces provide extra support to employees transitioning to parenthood. W. S. Badger Co. in Gilsum, N.H., offers “Babies at Work,” a program that allows new parents to bring their child to work for the first six months. While BDO USA’s virtual parents’ network provides live parenting webinars and chats for its employees at its nearly 40 locations from New York to Alaska.

Another effective workplace practice prevalent among winners is providing opportunities for employee growth and development through learning and mentoring. Laughlin Constables’ “Mentorship + Training” program seeks to share knowledge, foster learning and create connections between staff at all levels. Laughlin has offices in Chicago and Milwaukee.

“The 2016 When Work Works Award winners confirm that leading employers are continuing the movement toward effective workplace strategies that benefit both business and employees,” said Lisa Horn, director of SHRM’s workplace flexibility initiative. “These innovative strategies are what set these organizations apart, allowing them to attract and retain top talent, giving them a competitive advantage.”

To learn more, check out this interactive map, which includes winning organizations by state: http://www.whenworkworks.org/be-effective/2016-when-work-works-award-winners-state-listing

About When Work Works

When Work Works is a national initiative, led by the partnership of the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), to help businesses 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. The initiative administers the prestigious annual When Work Works Award, which recognizes exemplary employers for creating effective workplaces to increase business and employee success. Visit www.whenworkworks.org and follow us on Twitter @WhenWorkWorks @FWINews and @SHRMPress.

About Families and Work Institute

FWI is a nonprofit research-to-action institute dedicated to providing research for living in today’s changing workplace, changing family and changing community. Founded in 1989, our research takes on emerging issues before they crest and includes some of the most comprehensive research on the U.S. workforce available. The Institute’s work has helped change the language of debates to move the discussion forward toward more effective and data-driven solutions and to result in action. In addition, because the Institute conducts some of the only research studies of their kind, our studies are quoted in the media more than once a day and are regularly cited by decision makers in business, government and the public. Visit FamiliesAndWork.org, follow us on Linkedin.com/company/families-and-work-institute, like us on Facebook.com/FWINews and follow us on Twitter.com/FWINews.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at shrm.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SHRMPress.

About The Author: 
Mary Gormandy White, M.A., SPHR is co-owner of MTI Business Solutions, where she provides HR, management and leadership training and consulting services for clients throughout the U.S., including the Everything DiSC suite of assessments. She is an Everything DiSC Certified Trainer.