Friday, December 21, 2007

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to host roundtable to discuss flexible workplace practices

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to host roundtable to discuss flexible workplace practices that address new economic, demographic and societal challenges

When Work Works roundtable will highlight employers that innovatively recruit, develop and train their employees; discuss application for Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility

CHICAGO – As changing demographics, an aging population and increased diversity continue to impact the region’s workforce, employers and human resource practitioners can gain firsthand knowledge about innovative workplace practices being used by top local companies to meet evolving employee needs. These best practices will be featured at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s When Work Works roundtable on Thursday, January 10. The Chamber has been selected by the Families and Work Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to inform businesses in the region about trends in personnel management and to recognize effective and flexible workplaces in the 21st Century.

“As our local workforce continues to evolve, the demand for skilled workers will continue to increase especially as Baby Boomers begin to retire. Companies that offer their employees greater workplace flexibility will be able to best compete for the talent they need,” said Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Roper.

For the past several decades, Families and Work Institute (FWI) has been documenting the changes in the American workforce and workplace through its nationally representative studies of employers and employees. The Institute’s research finds that today’s fast-paced, 24/7 “wired” economy and diverse workforce are far different than in the past. There are four generations in the workforce, the workforce is aging, and values have shifted. In response, employers are looking for new ways to recruit, develop and retain their talent. When Work Works responds to these challenges by sharing research and best practices for managing in new and flexible ways.

Examples include compressed work weeks to decrease turnover and give employees more concentrated time at work and at home, telecommuting to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, sabbaticals to re-energize employees, and phased retirement to retain the talent of older workers.

“It is more challenging than ever to manage effectively—to recruit top talent, to engage and retain this talent, and to maximize productivity—in the face of fierce competition, more complicated jobs and changing workforce demographics. When Work Works is finding the best examples of effective and flexible workplaces locally and then sharing these strategies that work with the rest of the nation and the world,” said Ellen Galinsky, President of Families and Work Institute.

Attendees of When Work Works roundtable will share research, discuss best practices, and provide practical advice about how flexibility can be a strategic business tool. Businesses that specialize in workplace flexibility will be on hand, including the 2007 When Work Works award winner, Ernst & Young LLP, Age Lessons, and Flex-Options, a project of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau.

The When Work Works roundtable will be held on Thursday, January 10, between 8:30 and 10 a.m. at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Aon Center, 200 East Randolph, Suite 2200, Chicago. Event registration can be completed at More information about When Work Works, as well as research, company profiles, and tips on working flexibly, can be found at Participants in the roundtable will be encouraged to apply for the Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility; applications will be accepted online beginning on January 2, 2008. Organizations of all types with ten or more employees can apply.

When Work Works is an ongoing initiative led by the Families and Work Institute, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Twiga Foundation. Chicago is one of 30 communities selected from across the nation, with local leadership being provided by Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Chicago Workforce Board in collaboration with the Families and Work Institute, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Twiga Foundation. When Work Works is made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For information about When Work Works or about the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in the Chicago region, please contact Peggy Luce, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce at (312) 494-6745 or at For more information on When Work Works or the Sloan Awards at the national level, please contact Shanny Peer at (212) 981-2556 or at

In addition to recognizing workplace flexibility through the When Work Works initiative, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce also recognizes regional businesses for workplace excellence through its annual Right Workplace Award. Applications will be available beginning February 15.
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About the Project Partners of When Work Works

About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Since its founding in 1904 as the first regional chamber of commerce in the United States, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to make Chicagoland the most business-friendly region in America and enhance its members’ success through aggressive programs of advocacy, member benefits and services, and actionable information. The Chamber’s 2,600 members employ more than 1.2 million individuals in Chicagoland. Learn more by visiting

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr., then President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation. For the last 12 years, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has funded six Centers on Working Families, one workplace center, and many other research projects to examine issues faced by working families. Many of the findings reveal that while the demographics of the American workforce have changed dramatically over the last 30 years, the American workplace has not changed as rapidly. With today’s very diverse workforce, it is not surprising that now nearly four out of five working Americans, across age, income, and stage in life, want more flexibility at work. For more information, visit

Families and Work Institute
Families and Work Institute (FWI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that studies the changing workforce and workplace, the changing family and the changing community. As a preeminent think-tank, FWI is known for being ahead of the curve, identifying emerging issues, and then conducting rigorous research that often challenges common wisdom, provides insight and knowledge, and inspires action. Since the Institute was founded in 1989, our work has focused in three major areas: the workforce/workplace, youth and early childhood. For more information, visit

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) is a 501(c)3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is working to ensure that businesses have access—today and tomorrow—to an educated and skilled workforce. Through policy initiatives, business outreach, and a strong grassroots network, ICW is finding solutions that will preserve the American workforce as this country’s greatest business asset and its strongest future resource. ICW promotes high educational standards and effective workforce training systems, so that they are aligned with each other and with today’s rigorous business demands. For more information, visit

The Twiga Foundation
The Twiga Foundation is dedicated to inspiring, promoting and maintaining a family consciousness at home, in the workplace and in the community. The Twiga Foundation acts as a liaison to key stakeholders in the When Work Works communities to address the issue of flexibility in the workplace. The Foundation helps build a broader leadership constituency for workplace flexibility within each community. For more information, visit

Justin DeJong
Director of Communications
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
200 E. Randolph Street, Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60601

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