How does your workplace work?

Wouldn’t it be great to know how your business environment measures up to other New Hampshire, New England and national companies when it comes to providing a family-friendly environment for your employees? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get an analysis of your workplace policies and strategies that would provide you with free advice from national experts on workplace excellence and flexibility? Well, you can, and the great news is it won’t cost you a dime.Here’s some exciting news. New Hampshire has just been confirmed as eligible for statewide participation in the Alfred P. Sloan Award, a competitive program called When Work Works that honors employers of businesses with 10 employees or more for employee-family friendly workplace practices. For-profit, not-for-profit, education and government organizations are welcome to apply.The purpose of this program is to help employers and HR folks become more competitive by improving their company’s abilities to be flexible. This program is designed to help you recognize that an employee who can bridge the divide between the needs of their work life and their non-work life will not only be a more productive employee, but will stay longer, work harder and feel more allegiance to your organization.We know that workplace flexibility is a strategic management tool that makes a lot of sense for employers and employees. Recent research has confirmed that flexibility not only builds morale and affects productivity, but it saves dollars and resources in many ways for employers while, at the same time, creates an employee climate in which personal, family and work barriers aren’t constantly clashing with work demands.In the current economic condition, this program makes a lot of sense. This is a time when businesses have to find creative ways to hook and keep great employees. However, it is not a time when any of us have a lot of extra cash to offer potential new hires, nor can we offer the benefits packages of the olden golden days.However, the research is clear in indicating that one thing people are looking for is work that fits with their family or personal goals. The Sloan When Work Works program can help you do this.Interested? The New Hampshire When Work Works program is being promoted and orchestrated by the Family Education Collaborative, a joint venture of the YWCA of New Hampshire, UNH Cooperative Extension, Child and Family Services of New Hampshire and UNH Manchester, with great support from NHBR.The registration form and instructions can be found at In New Hampshire, you can contact Sharon Cowen, the When Work Works state coordinator, and Sharon will be happy to answer questions or even come out to your shop and make a presentation about the program. She can be reached at or by calling 603-641-6060.Folks at the Family and Work Institute in New York administer this program for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They will not only assess your company’s current workplace practices, but analyzing information that you submit, along with interviews that they will conduct with your employees they will give you clear concrete advice on cost-effective improvements you can make.In 2009, New Hampshire had four Manchester firms recognized for their devotion to great work and life practices — Dynamic Network Systems, Image 4, Child and Family Services and the YWCA. This year, they hope to have 10 winners from across the state.This is a free, no-risk opportunity to see how your shop stacks up against other New Hampshire and national firms in one of the most important areas of employee recruitment and retention. Why not find out if your workplace works?
Dr. Malcolm Smith is family life and family policy specialist with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and teaches in the UNH Family Studies Program. He can be reached at 603-862-7008, or