The new Minnesota Work-Life Champions™ Awards recognize and reward employers who create a work environment that encourages employees to meet business goals as well as their personal goals and family needs. 

The awards are sponsored by The Minnesota Work-Life Champions Partnership, a group of local chambers of commerce, business and professional associations, foundations, and nonprofit worklife advocacy organizations committed to making Minnesota’s employers the strongest in the nation. “Employers who implement effective work-life practices have a competitive edge. This award applauds employers who recognize the value of supporting the  well-being of employees (and their families) as a means to achieve business goals,” explained David Rodbourne, vice president of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, which manages the awards program.

Award applications are available at www.worklifechampions.org; applications are due no later than Oct. 21, 2005. Applicants in four size  categories, based on number of employees, will be evaluated on their organizational culture and leadership; work practices and flexibility; health, wellness and benefits; leave options; help with personal and family issues; and community involvement. In each category, Gold, Silver and Bronze Champions will be honored. Companies that meet baseline standards for work-life programs within their organizations will receive Minnesota Work-Life  Advocate awards. Winners of Advocate and Champion awards will be announced Jan. 26, 2006.

Each organization that completes the employer application will receive as a gift a PDF package containing a 14-page booklet of instructions for  conducting worklife focus groups (including questions to ask), a 30-question child care needs assessment and a 20-question climate survey foremployees. By applying for the Minnesota Work-Life Champions Awards, employers signal that they are committed to serving employee interests  as they also strive to achieve business goals.

The award was initiated by a grant from The McKnight Foundation. Work & Family Connection Inc., a nationally recognized publisher and consultant on work-life practices, provides content expertise to the project. For more information about the 2006 Minnesota Work-Life Champion Awards, contact Ron James, president and CEO at the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, (651) 962-4123, or David Rodbourne, (651) 962-4122.