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When Work Works Community Partner Toolkit 

04-04-2016 18:31

Resources for establishing a WWW community connection

Building Support for Workplace Effectiveness & Flexibility

When Work Works is a partnership between the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and SHRM.

Download the full Community Partner toolkit in PDF

This toolkit provides state and local volunteer leaders with the tools they need to build support for effective and flexible workplaces in their communities and organizations. It includes discussions about why effective and flexible workplaces are important to community organizations, businesses and HR professionals, and how they can promote it within their organizations. It also describes the When Work Works (WWW) initiative and the When Work Works Award (formerly known as the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility) and explains how promoting participation in this awards program can help employers, employees, and their communities be more successful.

What Is an Effective Workplace?

Effective workplaces recognize that employees are an organization's greatest resource and make a critical difference in the organization's ability to not merely survive, but to thrive. To be truly effective, a workplace -- its design, practices and policies -- must benefit both the organization and its employees.

To view the most current effective workplace model, please go to:

Defining Workplace Flexibility or "Workflex"

Workflex is a dynamic partnership between employers and employees that defines how, when and where work gets done and how careers are organized in ways that work for all (employers, employees, families, clients, & communities).

Workflex is an important business strategy that helps organizations respond to demographic, economic and technological changes in the workplace and to community needs.

To view the current list of the different types of workflex, go to:

Why is Workflex Important to HR Professionals and to Business?

The workforce has changed. Increasingly, employees are experiencing a time famine.[1] There are now four generations in the workforce and four in five of all employees who are married are dual earner couples. One of every five employees currently provides elder care and this number will increase dramatically to almost half of the workforce over the next several years. It is no surprise that employed men are experiencing more work-life conflict than in the past. [2] It is important for organizations to acknowledge and respond to these changes in the workforce.

The workplace is also undergoing important transformations. Jobs have become more demanding and less secure in the current economic climate.[3] The average middle class family works 500 hours more than they would have in the 1970s. [4] The global marketplace runs on a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week economy. These factors contribute to greater intensity in the workplace today.

Human resource (HR) professionals can help their organizations respond to these transformations by building support for policies and practices that create effective workplaces. Increasingly, workplaces are recognizing that employees are an organization's greatest resource and make a critical difference in an organization's ability to not merely survive, but to thrive. To be truly flexible and effective, a workplace -- its design, practices and policies -- must benefit the organization and its employees. [5]

Organizations that provide more effective and flexible work environments have been shown to have more engaged, satisfied, and healthier employees with fewer intentions of looking for new employment.[6] These effects can be seen in a variety of industries and across a range of employee groups. As workplaces become more intense, organizations find that they must become more flexible to support employees in effectively managing their demands at work and at home and to attract, develop, and retain the employees they need to succeed.

The History of When Work Works

Families and Work Institute launched When Work Works (WWW) in 2003 in collaboration with the Institute for a Competitive Workfore (an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and the Twiga Foundation, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The centerpiece of the initiative is the When Work Works Award (WWW Award), a nationally recognized award for organizations that are using effective and flexible work as part of their business practice.

SHRM-FWI Partnership

In February 2011, When Work Works became a joint project of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Families and Work Institute (FWI). Its goal is to translate research into action -- to create more effective and flexible workplaces for the 21st Century.

This partnership combines the research and expertise of a widely respected think tank specializing in workplace effectiveness with the influence and reach of the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. By highlighting strategies that enable people to do their best work, the partnership promotes practical, research-based knowledge that helps employers voluntarily create effective and flexible workplaces that fit the 21st century workforce and ensure a new competitive advantage for businesses.

While several SHRM affiliates serve as When Work Works Community Partners, the SHRM-FWI partnership is focused on increasing the number of SHRM State Councils and/or Chapters in this role. This toolkit provides SHRM members with information and resources on how to adopt this initiative in your state or community. In addition, if a community partner already exists in your community, this toolkit outlines opportunities for collaboration.

When Work Works - A National Initiative

When Work Works shares cutting-edge research and resources and highlights best practices through its searchable tool: Guide to Bold New Ideas. Practices such as telecommuting, flex-time, part-time work, job sharing, transition to retirement, and compressed schedules help employees meet their work and life responsibilities and help employers respond to the competitive global marketplace. Flexible workplace strategies boost productivity, increase employee morale, lower turnover and absenteeism, and lower overhead costs.

When Work Works partners with communities and states around the country to:

  • share rigorous research and employer best practices on workplace effectiveness and flexibility;
  • inspire local employers to create more effective and flexible workplaces to benefit both business and employees; and
  • recognize exemplary employees through the WWW Award and local community events.

Community Partner Benefits and Responsibilities

When Work Works community partners have three primary responsibilities:

  1. Engage community leaders in supporting workplace effectiveness and flexibility efforts;
  2. Educate employers about workplace effectiveness and flexibility; and
  3. Promote the WWW Award and recognize award recipients.

Community Partner Guidelines

At the start of each award cycle, the CORE When Work Works Team (FWI-SHRM) will update the Community Partner Guidelines, which will briefly recap the responsibilities of the community partner organization and the CORE When Work Works Team. Upon receipt of these guidelines, please review them with your leadership and volunteers. For those partners who are also part of SHRM, please review the segment below.

Additional Guidelines for SHRM WWW Community Partners

SHRM's nationwide network of State Councils and Chapters provides an ideal structure for disseminating information and educating HR professionals and employers at the local level about workplace effectiveness and flexibility.

Serving as a When Work Works Community Partner offers several benefits to SHRM State Councils and Chapters, including:

  1. Leading a community effort on a key business issue that generates significant media interest;
  2. Offering educational programming to HR professionals on a critical people issue;
  3. Supporting a SHRM strategic priority while increasing State Council/Chapter visibility on a timely HR issue; and
  4. Meeting SHRM Affiliate Program for Excellence (SHAPE) initiatives.

State Councils/Chapters that implement When Work Works satisfy one focus area requirement under Section 2 of SHAPE -- State Focused Council Initiatives or Community Based Chapter Initiatives -- that supports the Core Leadership Areas of:

  • Government Affairs
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Workforce Readiness
  • A self-defined area other than the items listed above.

State Councils or Chapters interested in leading the When Work Works initiative in your state or community should complete the Commitment to Partner form, available from your CORE WWW SHRM contact.

If a When Work Works community partner already exists in your state or community, CORE When Work Works team (FWI-SHRM) encourages State Councils/Chapters to explore opportunities to collaborate with the community partner on education or recognition events and help raise awareness of the WWW Award. For example, SHRM affiliates can:

  • Include a link to on your affiliate website;
  • Notify members when the WWW Award appication process is open via electronic newsletter or email communications;
  • Encourage members to apply for a WWW Award via a podium announcement at monthly meetings;
  • Host a joint educational program with the community partner to attract potential new members; and
  • Host a joint recognition event for WWW Award recipients with the community partner or explore the possibility of incorporating a recognition celebration in your state conference or monthly chapter meeting.

Overview of the When Work Works Award

The WWW Award program is national in scope, and recognizes model employers of all types and sizes across the U.S. for their innovative and effective workplace practices.

It is a worksite-based award honoring organizations that are using workplace flexibility as a strategy to make work work better -- for both the employer and the employee.

The awards are unique for their rigorous criteria. To win, applicants must rank among the top 20% of employers in terms of their programs and practices for creating effective and flexible workplaces, based on nationally representative data from FWI. Two thirds of the overall score is derived from a confidential employee survey that asks employees about their individual use of and experiences with flexibility and other aspects of an effective workplace, including the supportiveness of their workplace culture and whether they perceive any negative consequences for using flexibility at their workplace ensuring that these programs and practices are having a real impact on the employee experience.

Employers benefit by merely applying for the WWW Award as all applicants receive a free customized benchmarking report comparing their effective and flexible workplace practices to a nationally representative sample of U.S. employers and to award winners.

Visit and for more information.

HR and the WWW Award

HR professionals help promote effective and flexible workplace policies and programs that increase productivity, lower turnover, and strengthen employee engagement. The WWW Award provides HR professionals with a unique opportunity to showcase their organization's effective and flexible workplace strategies and better understand how their programs compare to others.

While there are lots of benefits to applying for this prestigious award, here are the "Top 10 Reasons to Apply for a WWW Award:"

10. Provides a great opportunity to strengthen your organization's brand.
9. Lets your customers know that you are an employer of choice in responding to the needs of employees and their families.
8. Gives you a tool to use to recruit, develop and retain top talent.

Involves you in a vibrant and engaging network of organizations that are using workplace flexibility as an effective business strategy.

6. Increases your organization's visibility by being an expert source on issues of effective and flexible workplaces for the media.
5. Shows your employees that an effective and flexible workplace is a priority for your organization.
4. Offers you the opportunity to be a winner and get national and local recognition.
3. Enables you to be featured in the searchable Guide to Bold New Ideas tool, the go-to source on best practices.
2. Provides an opportunity for you to learn what your organization is already doing well and how these efforts can be enhanced through the benchmarking report provided to all applicants.
1. Allows you to stand out from your competition as an organization whose leadership values its employees.

The Community Business Case

Not only do organizations and their employees benefit from implementing effective and flexible workplace policies and practices, communities benefit as well, and can be recognized as best places to work and live. Communities across the nation support effective and flexible workplaces to address issues such as:

  • promoting regional economic development
  • addressing environmental and energy concerns such as reducing traffic congestion and commute time
  • recruiting and retaining a multi-generational workplace
  • establishing the community as a great place to work and live
  • recruiting and retaining women in leadership positions
  • focusing on civic engagement and the positive community impact that encourages volunteerism
  • responding to changing community economic conditions such as structural unemployment, a changing industry base, or reducing poverty
  • increasing caregiving availability, thus addressing family time-famine challenges
Strategies and Objectives for Community Partners

Community Partners should strive to recruit as many local organizations to apply for the WWW Award as possible. To achieve this goal, consider what might motivate an organization to apply for the award.

Here are some reported benefits of receiving the WWW Award from previous award recipients:

  • Recognized at both local and national events;
  • Profiled in the annual Guide to Bold New Ideas;
  • Featured in publications by FWI, SHRM, and other publications that are disseminated across the country;
  • Able to use the WWW Award logo for promotional purposes;
  • Better able to attract, develop and retain a talented workforce; and
  • Involved in a network of winning organizations at the forefront of thought-leadership surrounding workplace flexibility.

Launching When Work Works

While educational/recognition programs along with efforts to promote the WWW Award are unique across communities, here is a recommended set of steps to undertake to fulfill the three partner responsibilities:

  • Promote the WWW Award.. Engage previous winners in the community as champions of the award program and mentors for new applicants.
  • Host an event to introduce members and local employers to the award program and help them to apply (preview the application process, panels with previous winners, one-on-one phone calls or meetings to walk applicants through the process.).
  • Identify community champions or workplaces where workplace flexibility is already a strategy but not well known in the community.
  • Host a coalition meeting with a wide variety of members from your community. This provides a place for talking about effective and flexible workplaces from a number of viewpoints Consider co-sponsoring workplace flexibility events with other organizations.
  • Include effective and flexible workplace programming in your state conference.
  • Host a recognition event for WWW Award winners in your community.
  • Distribute press release announcing WWW Award winners and details of your recognition event. Be sure to leverage social media.
  • Share information about your recognition event with CORE WWW Team (FWI-SHRM) to generate additional attendance at your event.
  • Promote the searchable tool, Guide to Bold New Ideas, which highlights WWW Award winners and their innovative effective and flexible workplace strategies.
  • Publicize local WWW Award winner's effective and flexible workplace success stories in local media, your newsletter, email blasts, etc.
  • Encourage WWW Award recipients to distribute a press release announcing their accomplishment.
  • Celebrate National Work and Family Month in October. Ask your governor and/or mayor to declare October as Work and Family Month in your area.
  • Provide an online forum for providing effective and flexible workplace information, resources and an exchange of ideas. Consider forming a local LinkedIn discussion group.

WWW Community Partners who are SHRM local/state chapters should also view these recommended steps:

  • Complete the Commitment to Partner form and return it to your CORE WWW SHRM contact.
  • Host a State Council/Chapter program on workplace effectiveness and flexibility.
  • Consider utilizing SHRM Speaker's Bureau presentation on workplace flexibility, which is eligible for SHRM Professional Development Credit for recertifying the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.
  • Gather local SHRM members to discuss forming a community coalition. Consider who else to include in your efforts to promote effective and flexible workplaces in your area.

Identifying Champions and Potential Coalition Members/Collaborators

To help ensure the sustainability of the When Work Works initiative in your community, it is important to involve key stakeholders and champions in the effort. These individuals and/or groups can increase the reach of the initiative and help influence how employers and others in the community think about workforce and workplace issues. Consider including:

Business Groups and Professional Associations
  • Local chambers of commerce
  • Local leadership groups
  • Local business magazine
  • Rotary/Kiwanis
  • Existing business roundtables or task forces
  • Workforce Development Councils
  • Economic Development Committees


  • Large employers
  • Mid-sized and small employers
  • Employers that have won the When Work Works Award
  • Non-profit, academic, and health organizations.

Employee Groups

  • Unions
  • Women's organizations
  • Diversity advocacy
  • Generational differences
  • Temp agencies

Media Groups

  • Print, television media
  • Business media
  • Editorial writers
  • Social media

Government Groups

  • Elected officials or designee
  • Government employers
  • Department of Economic Development
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Council on Aging

Community Service Groups

  • United Way
  • Parenting Groups
  • Family Advocates
  • Caregiving Associations

Educational Groups

  • Education from early childhood to higher education
  • Parent educators
  • Professors
  • School Nurses
  • Counselors

CORE WWW Team (FWI-SHRM) is also available to answer questions and provide additional guidance to community partners interested in advancing workplace flexibility.

About Us

When Work Works (

A project of Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management, When Work Works is a nationwide initiative to bring research on workplace effectiveness and flexibility into community and business practice. Since its inception in 2005, When Work Works has partnered with an ever-expanding cohort of communities from around the country to:

  • share virgorous research and employer best practices on workplace effectiveness and flexibility;
  • recognize exemplary employers through the When Work Works Award; and
  • inspire positive change so that increasing numbers of employers understand how effective and flexible workplaces can benefit both business and employees.

Visit and follow us on Twitter @WhenWorkWorks @FWINews and @SHRMPress, and join the workflex conversation on

Society for Human Resource Management (

Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional 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.

Contact: Cassidy Solis via email at or call 703-535-6086.


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. Since the Institute was founded in 1989, our work has addressed issues in three major areas: the workforce/workplace, youth and early childhood. Families and Work Institute's 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 soutions 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.

Contact: Zon-Wei Cheng via email at or call 212-981-2564.



[1] Galinsky, E., Sakai, K., & Wigton, T. (2011) Workplace Flexibility: From Research to Action, Future of Children 21(2), 141-161

[2] Aumann, K., Galinsky, E., & Matos, K. (2011) The New Male Mystique. New York: Families and Work Institute.

[3] Bond, J., Falinsky, E. (1997) National Study of the Changing Workforce Executive Summary

[4] Boushey, H. in The Shriver Report: How a Woman's Nation Changes Everything (Boushey, H. & O'Leary, A.eds), The new breadwinners (Center for American Proress, Washington, DC, October 2009)

[5] Aumann, K & Galinsky, E., (2008) The State of Health in the American Workforce: Does Having an Effective Workplace Matter? New York, Families and Work Institute.

[6] Aumann, K & Galinsky, E. (2008). The State of Health in the American Workforce: Does Having an Effective Workplace Matter? New York, Families and Work Institute.



This section includes additional resources and information to help all When Work Works Community Partners build support for workplace effectiveness and flexibility, and implement When Work Works in their state or community.

CORE WWW Team (FWI-SHRM) is also available to answer questions and provide additional guidance to community partners interested in advancing workplace flexibility.



Important Links
  • Workflex Assessment: free short (15 minutes) assessment of how effective and flexible your workplace is compared to other workplaces across the nation.
  • Guide to Bold New Ideas: free searchable tool featuring WWW Award winners. Look up top employers by size, industry, location or type of flexibility program.

Tip Sheets

For more information on the WWW Award including eligibility and application process and scoring cirteria, go to:

#Toolkit #Resources #Administration #WorkforceReadinessCLA #DiversityCLA #CoreLeadershipAreas #ManualsandToolkits #WhenWorkWorks