Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Visioning the Future: Defining the Standards of Excellence for Work/Life Integration

by Kathy Lynch

Jobs Vacancy, Employment, Employment Jobs

Over the past decade, there has been tremendous progress as leading organizations have recognized that their most valuable asset is their employees. They have taken aggressive innovative steps to implement flexibility strategies, address the lack of quality childcare, and respond to the needs of an aging workforce. However, “excellence” in work/life continues to be largely been defined by the media and the importance and challenge of measuring and evaluating the impact of work/life efforts has not been thoroughly addressed. The Boston College Center for Work & Family believes that the starting point for this type of evaluation is a set of standards that define a vision for excellence and provide the tools to set a course to achieve it.

The Center, in collaboration with an advisory board of leading corporate practitioners and academics, will release the Standards of Excellence for Work/Life Integration in Boston on November 6, 2002.

The Standards of Excellence will provide employers with a framework for developing strategy and implementation planning; assessing progress; and benchmarking their organization with other leading employers. The Essential Elements necessary to develop work/life integration as a core strategy in the business community are defined. Through evaluation, discussion, and best-practice examples, the Standards of Excellence will show that there is no one "right" solution and that achieving excellence in work/life must be consistent with an organization's culture and business climate.

The Boston College Center for Work & Family will offer a number of companion services aimed at helping organizations understand, implement, and fully utilize the Standards of Excellence.

The Work/Life Excellence Index is an assessment and planning instrument that provides a detailed analysis of an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to develop a strategic plan and to pinpoint specific areas of focus for improvement efforts.

The Standards Forums will offer work/life practitioners and other managers an opportunity to learn about the Standards framework, use the Work/Life Excellence Index, benchmark against their peers attending the forum, and learn about best practices in the field.

The E-HANDBOOK on Excellence will serve as a comprehensive electronic tool to assist users of the Index. It will be organized according to the seven key elements, providing in-depth research and company practice materials.

The Benchmarking Database will be a compilation of results from all completed indexes and will provide powerful comparison information about an organization's strategy, management, infrastructure, and approach to work/life integration.

Virtual Seminars will elaborate on the Essential Elements and present relevant information in a concentrated, easy to follow format. Seminars will be led by the Center for Work & Family staff and feature work/life thoughts leaders with related expertise, practitioners with best practices to share, and research highlights.

Annual Trends in Excellence Reports will be published that will present the information compiled in the database, supplemented by lessons learned from cutting-edge research.

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