Celebrating excellence in workplace flexibility
“The way we win is to offer
flexibility–it’s critical to our ability
to compete.” –Leslie Dixon
“This award is particularly
gratifying because of the fact
that associates indicate by their responses that they experience
the flexibility we believe is
important to being a best
place to work.” –Lori Lorenz
Baird earns national honor
October 1, 2009
For the second year in a row, Baird has earned a national Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, ranking the firm among the top 20% of employers nationwide in terms of flexible work programs, policies and culture. The Sloan Awards honor organizations of all sizes and types nationwide that use workplace flexibility as a strategy to increase effectiveness, yield positive business results and attract and retain top talent.
“We are thrilled that Baird has been recognized again for business excellence in the area of flexibility, something every generation in the work force wants today,” said Leslie Dixon, Chief Human Capital Officer.
18 area winners
Awards were presented to 18 Milwaukee-area firms, including Baird, at the “Flex Your City” event hosted by FUEL Milwaukee on Sept. 10. FUEL Milwaukee is a talent attraction and retention initiative of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), and the local sponsor of the Sloan Awards program. Leslie serves as FUEL’s Executive Council Chair.
“The way we win is to offer flexibility – it’s critical to our ability to compete,” said Leslie, emphasizing that flexible work arrangements are important to both men and women.
“Flexibility is about helping associates find the balance they need to be their best,” said Lori Lorenz, Human Capital Director. “Achieving that goal is good for associates and good for Baird, and that’s what the Sloan Award celebrates.” Milwaukee is one of 30 communities across the country participating. However, 2009 marks the first year the program expanded its application base to companies nationwide. Any organization in the U.S. was eligible for the award, and nearly 1,000 employers applied. The Milwaukee Region, now in its second year in the program, saw a 15% rise in employer applications. Last year, a total of 12 area firms were honored, compared to 18 this year.
Attracting the best people
“It’s exciting to see more firms in the area winning the Sloan Award. Growing the number of flexible workplaces in the region gives Milwaukee an advantage in the competition for talent,” said Leslie, who has worked with other business leaders in FUEL to position the Milwaukee area as a destination for top talent.
To apply, organizations must answer a number of questions related to workplace flexibility and innovative practices. Responses are compared to nationally representative data from Families and Work Institute’s National Study of Employers
. The Institute then conducts a survey of randomly selected employees to validate the employer responses, to complete the rigorous evaluation process.
“This award is particularly gratifying because of the fact that associates indicate by their responses that they experience the flexibility we believe is important to being a best place to work,” said Lori. She added that flexibility is essential to attracting and retaining the best people and to providing the best financial advice and service to our clients.
Flexibility at Baird
Both Lori and Leslie emphasized that flexibility needs to work for the business, our clients and the associates involved. “As we pointed out in the application, flexibility at Baird works because we encourage managers to focus on desired outcomes, making sure that arrangements make good business sense and help associates do their best work,” Lori said.
At Baird, flexibility comes in many forms, from ongoing work arrangements to formal flexible work plans to special adjustments for appointments, family or personal needs, community involvement or pursuing personal goals. Associates are trusted and given the latitude to adjust their work hours as needed for these commitments, in consultation with their managers.
Flexibility is also important as unique needs arise, including emergency situations – from caring for a sick family member to longer-term illnesses.
Other Milwaukee-area winners of the 2009 Sloan Awards are: BDO Seidman, Clifton Gunderson, Ernst & Young, Foley & Lardner,
Herzing University, Kforce Professional Staffing, Kolb+Co, KPMG, Laughlin/Constable, Manpower, MMAC, Mortgage Guaranty
Insurance Corp, RSM McGladrey, StorerTV and The Novo Group. Honorable Mentions went to Marshall & Ilsley and West Bend Mutual
The national awards program is part of the When Work Works
project, an ongoing initiative of Families and Work Institute,
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the Twiga Foundation. Through When Work Works, these partner organizations
provide research, resources and recognition to employers nationwide. For more information, read the news release