Happy People Create Effective Workplaces

becky-jackson-ican-president-and-chief-executive-officerHappy people create and maintain effective workplaces. It is a simple but powerful fact. In my 40-year career in the financial services industry and non-profit management, I have yet to see it fail. Beyond budgets, schedules, timelines and sales efforts, a happy and content staff can make any workplace dynamic. Success oriented workplaces recognize that employees are an organization’s greatest resource. Employees can make a critical difference in an organization’s ability to not only survive, but thrive.

Our mission at ICAN is to empower youth to be responsible members of the community. Our focus is giving them the tools and programs they need to be successful. We have also found that creating a positive work environment for our staff directly affects the youth we serve. When the staff is empowered and able to manage their work-life balance, it directly and positively impacts the lives of the 250 youth that come through our doors every day.  Because we stress the importance of our employees, we applied for and won the “When Work Works Workplace Flexibility Award.” There were 12 other stellar Arizona Companies and over 500 nation-wide. Workplace flexibility is essential to success. It is not just for large corporations.  ICAN has a staff of 27 and we have found several creative ways to offer flexible practices in our business.

The “When Work Works” initiative is grounded in the results of nationally representative studies of employees and employers. These studies have found that flexibility is a key ingredient in creating effective workplaces that can yield important work-related outcomes for employers. In fact, employees in effective and flexible workplaces report greater engagement on the job, greater job satisfaction and desire to stay with the organization, better over-all health and lower stress levels.

Businesses need to work differently than they have in the past and put the needs of their employees in the forefront. A recent study by the “When Work Works” initiative found that employees seek three forms of flexibility as most common. They are, control over taking breaks, time off for important family and personal needs and flex time. Their research offers many other forms of flexibility and how to put them to work.

At ICAN we offer flexible work schedules and the ability to telecommute part of the week. We have a number of part-time positions on staff. We conduct semi-annual employee satisfaction surveys that are continually evaluated by managers to ensure our employee needs are being met wherever possible. We strive to keep our workplace fun and hopefully a place where they look forward to coming to work each day.

The “When Work Works” initiative can be a valuable resource for almost any business of any size. Their research is current and reliable. Their tools for success can be easily integrated into any workplace. I encourage you to visit www.whenworkworks.org and take advantage of what they offer. I hope to see even more nominees and winners of the “When Work Works” award in 2015!


Becky Jackson
President & CEO
ICAN – Positive Programs for Youth

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