SHRM recognizes more than 300 companies for creating effective workplaces

Employers honored based on six evidence-based components such as autonomy, work/life fit

Posted May 26, 2016

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.

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.

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, Minnesota – 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, Arizona – Promotes a culture of flexibility and understands family is first. It also has internship programs for high school and college students.
  3. BDO USA LLP – Raleigh, North Carolina – Values work/life fit for employees and leverages flexibility as a tool for managing business and employee needs. It also hosts virtual employee networks where employees can learn from each other, ask questions, and share ideas and resources.
  4. capSpire Inc. – Tulsa, Oklahoma – 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, Minnesota – Creates a culture of respect by encouraging open lines of communication between employees and supervisors. It 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, New Hampshire, 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.

To learn more, check out this interactive map, which includes winning organizations by state.


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