“When Work Works” Award Brings National Recognition to Kentucky Employers

LEXINGTON, KY. (Jan. 12, 2010) — The University of Kentucky Institute for Workplace Innovation (iwin) is kicking off the 2010 “When Work Works” initiative by inviting Kentucky businesses to apply for the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility.
When Work Works is a national initiative with a community focus, which aims to educate employers about the benefits of flexible workplace practices and allow employers who are already practicing workplace flexibility to be recognized for their efforts through the Alfred P. Sloan Awards. 2010 is the third year that iwin is spearheading this initiative in their region, and Kentucky is only one of five states asked to spread the program statewide. In 2009, 38 Kentucky businesses were named as award winners, and received national and local recognition for their innovative uses of workplace flexibility as a strategic management tool.
Applying for the award is free, and takes about 30 minutes. The online application is available at www.iwin.uky.edu. Employers must have been in business for at least one year, and have 10 or more employees.
The application process itself offers benefits to employers, as each organization will receive a customized benchmarking report allowing business leaders to compare their operation to national companies. The report will include guidelines for creating an effective and flexible workplace. Winners of the award will gain local, state and national recognition including participation in an awards ceremony and mentioned in the Congressional Record. Additionally, the business practices of winners will be highlighted in a publication distributed to employers across the country.
Applications will be received between Jan. 12 and April 26, 2010.
“This prestigious award offers Kentucky employers the opportunity to be recognized nationally among other employers who strive to promote a culture that leverages workplace flexibility as tool to meet business and workforce objectives,” said Jennifer Swanberg, director of iwin.
[IMAGE1]“Through improved bottom line and employee success, our previous award winners demonstrate the advantages of offering flexible workplaces For example, Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI), a 2009 award winner, was ranked fourth in profit leaders nationwide by National Underwriter,” Swanberg said.
KEMI says its success comes from recognizing employees as whole people who want to contribute to their families and communities as well as to their employers. Employees at KEMI can take time during the workday to keep a personal appointment, to attend a child’s school or sports event, or even to volunteer in the community.
KEMI is not the only “When Work Works” employer to find that flexible workplace policies add to their bottom line.
“For example,” Swanberg said, “the Louisville-area accounting firm of McCauley, Nicolas and Company has told us that allowing employees to take time off to care for children and loved ones, volunteer on company time and enjoy a family-friendly work environment has helped decrease turnover to 6.5 percent in an industry where 20 percent turnover is the norm. We hear about these and so many other fantastic programs and outcomes our Kentucky employers are experiencing through offering flexibility to their employees.“
The Sloan Awards are part of “When Work Works”, an ongoing initiative of the Families and Work Institute, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and the Twiga Foundation. Kentucky is among 26 communities, including only four other states, selected to implement the initiative.
On Thursday, Feb. 25, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the University of Kentucky’s Boone Center, a panel of prior award winners will present their best practices and information on the benefits their businesses have reaped from offering flexible workplaces. Employers can also learn more about the awards and how to incorporate flexibility into their workplace. (To register for this event, e-mail meghan.purdy@uky.edu).
For more information on the Institute for Workplace Innovation, the “When Work Works” program or the application procedure for awards, visit www.iwin.uky.edu or contact Lee Ann Walton at leeannwalton@uky.edu or (859) 323-0582.

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