The following are profiles of Families and Work Institute’s 2013 Effective and Flexible Workplace Awards winners in Maryland.
These profiles are excerpted from the 2014 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work. Copies of this publication are available for purchase online.
Applications are currently open for the 2014 awards, also known as the Sloan Awards for Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. Please visit the award page for more information.
Click here to return to the full list winners in other states.
Winning Site: Rockville, MD – 47 Employees
All employees of 5AM Solutions, a life sciences technology solutions firm, are provided the tools they need to have greater control over their hours and work from where they want. It’s all part of the company’s efforts to create an effective work environment and show employees that they’re respected. There are no set work hours, so employees can manage their personal lives while still getting their jobs done. There are times when a project has a major deadline or deliverable and employees have to work extra hours to get these completed. In these instances, managers have provided a bonus or additional paid time off (PTO) to show employees that they value them and appreciate the time and effort that they put in. One of the goals of 5AM Solutions leaders is to attract and retain top talent and to be an employer of choice. Leaders report that flexibility has resulted in employees feeling more satisfied, committed and engaged with their jobs. 5AM Solutions’ aim in creating innovative programs in the workplace is to help everyone succeed in both their personal and professional lives.
American Society of Addiction Medicine
Winning Site: Chevy Chase, MD – 17 Employees
Employees at the American Society of Addiction Medicine recently got a work-design revamp following problems with a more informal work design. Prior to implementing a strategic plan around flexibility, telecommuting was offered, but it was not managed properly. This resulted in the need to discontinue the practice, build a cohesive system, articulate the strategy and then reintroduce the options for workplace flexibility initiatives under clearer guidance and assessment. Now, teams work more cohesively, and employees better understand their roles and responsibilities. More fluid work arrangements have also helped managers manage space resources. Anecdotal data indicate that employees have increased productivity and can more effectively plan their work. Staff members report satisfaction with their schedules, especially those who regularly telecommute. To combat feelings of overwork, leaders at American Society of Addiction Medicine have awarded administrative days off directly after completing major projects, have increased the use of interns and temporary help to manage less strategic work, and have shifted workloads and priorities to provide additional staff to specific projects when needed.
Aviation Systems Engineering Company, Inc. (ASEC)
Aviation Systems Solutions
Winning Site: Lexington Park, MD – 100 Employees
Aviation Systems Engineering Company, Inc. (ASEC) provides employees with autonomy over when and how work gets done, job flexibility for returning veterans, and opportunities for disabled and older employees to get on-the-job training as well as tuition assistance. There is an overall flexible atmosphere for employees who can work flexible schedules, take military leave or leaves of absence for personal reasons with high likelihood of returning to the same position. ASEC also offers part time work. Leaders at ASEC are strong supporters of military service. Employees can receive supplementary pay up to 10 calendar days per military fiscal year in addition to satisfying Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requirements. Returning military members are able to use flexible scheduling so they can have time with their families. Young people benefit from multiple internship programs in the corporate environment and supporting direct customers. Leaders report that these initiatives and a robust benefits package have resulted in a 98% retention rate. Leaders understand that employees have a life outside of their work and believe that offering flexibility to tend to their personal commitments makes them more motivated to succeed at work.
BDO USA, LLP – Bethesda
CPAs, Consultants and Advisors
3,219 Employees in the U.S. – 129 Employees in Bethesda
BDO USA, LLP, a business services firm, takes a holistic approach when it comes to creating a supportive work environment where both employee and company needs can thrive. Employees are encouraged to find an individualized flexibility solution that works for them, while pursuing business needs. Flexibility helps employees’ productivity and enables the firm to compete efficiently in a global market. For example, telecommuting has enabled the company to grow quickly in new markets and saved the firm more than $500,000 since 2005. Technologies like web-conferencing and tools used to schedule and assign client work enable greater flexibility. BDO leadership has taken steps to increase access to flexibility for administrative employees, many of whom must be at the office to do their jobs. Those steps include supervisor support of administrative staff when it comes to arranging flexible hours and workflex webinars; and the firm recently held a focus group with administrators at all levels to better align these workflex initiatives. Several programs at BDO help young employees feel more connected to the company and their colleagues, including career development, mentoring and networking. Veterans who are undergoing medical treatment or therapy for an injury incurred during their service are eligible for up to 26 of unpaid leave. BDO also offers a backup care program providing employees with 10 days of child or elder care each year, either in a center or at home. During the busy season, toolkits provide employees with ideas for reducing stress, like converting unused space into a relaxation area or a more casual dress code.
The Center for Organizational Excellence
Management and Technology Consulting
Winning Site: Rockville, MD – 35 Employees
At The Center for Organizational Excellence, a management and IT consulting firm for the federal government, 90% of employees are provided with the technology to telecommute and all staff members have the ability to determine their own work schedules and work locations. All employees are treated as professionals and, as long as client needs are being met, they can choose when and where they work. A number of employees have relocated to other parts of the country. In each case, these employees were able to telecommute 100% of the time from their new homes. Technology has played an important role in increasing flexibility. As a federal contractor, consultants at the firm are constantly on the move. Employees are provided with laptops, a stipend toward use of their personal mobile devices, wireless broadband cards, tablets and other devices that to enable them to work from any location.
CohnReznick LLP – Baltimore and Bethesda
2,410 Employees in the U.S.
Public accounting firm CohnReznick LLP provides an array of programs to help employees succeed in their careers, including modified work schedules and mentoring and networking opportunities with some directed mainly at advancing women. A formal mentoring program benefits all employees with the added bonus of helping mentees find flexibility options that work for them. Their collaborative advocacy network for women enables leaders to create a community that supports the development of women and provides them with the resources they need to succeed. Leaders at this tax and advisory firm are highly aware of the needs of their employees, many of whom are working parents or primary caregivers to elderly parents. Flexible work arrangements enable them to meet those needs as well as the needs of the firm; and they include flexible start and end times and part-time schedules. Employees can also use “ad hoc flexibility.” For example, employees are able to come in late if they have personal commitments, and they can then make up the hours by working from home or staying later at work. Part-time employees are eligible for many of the firm’s benefits and pro-rated paid time off (PTO). To support flexible work arrangements, investments have been made in mobile technology and remote access enabling a seamless work environment regardless of an employee’s physical location. Senior managers and above are also provided with smartphones. Leaders feel that by staying in constant communication with employees, they can understand and respond to their needs, aiding in retention; and they remain focused on employees’ productivity and not the hours an employee works.
Winning Site: Frederick, MD – 35 Employees
At iHire, LLC, an employment agency and network, employees are not evaluated on how long they are sitting at a desk, but on the achievement of their objectives—objectives they come up with themselves based on the goals of senior leadership. In 2012, the firm’s leaders transitioned to a “results only” work environment. Employees work when they want, where they want and as long or as little as they want as long as the job gets done. Since transitioning to this results-based approach, employees have reported increased productivity, higher engagement levels, better job satisfaction and reduced stress levels—all of which are great for employees and the business. Additionally, turnover is zero. A key part of the firm’s strategy is technology. At least half of the staff members have laptops and are able to connect to the network remotely; and, ultimately, the goal is for all employees to have laptop computers. For those employees who do not yet have laptops, leaders provide guidance and training on all of the options available to them, such webmail, forwarding phone calls to an external number, mobile access to e-mail and work calendars and tasks, instant messenger and videoconferencing.
Mission Planning and Scheduling Solutions for Aerospace
Winning Site: Greenbelt, MD – 11 Employees
Leaders at Orbit Logic, a software firm providing mission planning and scheduling services, have found unique ways to help busy employees manage work and family and still remain productive, even in the face of difficult business conditions. Over 80% of the company’s staff members have given birth to a child in the past two years. These new parents have benefitted from having flexible returns to work after the birth of the baby and baby play date lunches for “Bring Your Child to Work Day.” Providing such flexible work options has gone a long way in attracting and retaining employees. All new hires are given a laptop, providing flexibility to work wherever and whenever possible, but also keeping the company running smoothly regardless of circumstances. While serious weather conditions such as Hurricane Sandy interrupted other small businesses, Orbit Logic employees remained productive. Instant messaging helps employees stay in touch regardless of where they are. Through an employee survey, leaders found that employees ranked flexibility as the number one program offered. Part of what attracts top talent to the company is the flexible work environment and generous benefits package.