Remaking the Association Workplace
Staff Well-Being

Seven Steps to Employee Well-Being

In this article:
Responding to staff preferences was a priority after the CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council saw how employees came through during the pandemic. More flexibility, a commitment to DEI, expanded geographical options, and other perks have created a workplace that puts a premium on employee well-being.

Jason Oxman, CAE, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, was so impressed by his staff’s productivity and dedication during the pandemic—the two most successful years in ITI’s history—that he made a concerted effort to take the lessons learned from that challenging time and bring them into a post-pandemic workplace.

“Our overall goal is to be a great place to work and make sure our employees recognize that we value their contributions to the organization—and that we wouldn’t be successful without them,” Oxman said.

In addition to lessons learned from a crisis, a lot of the changes ITI has made have been based on employee feedback and best practices among its member companies, “because they have a lot of interesting ideas about how to attract and retain a talented workforce,” Oxman said.

That includes optimizing organizational culture by investing in people in meaningful ways. Here are seven ways that ITI is doing it:

Work wherever. ITI employees can work from anywhere in the world for up to four weeks a year. “The idea is that people should have the flexibility to do their work from a place that makes sense for them for where they are in their lives at a particular point in time,” Oxman said. One employee recently chose to work from Brazil. And the four-week limit means there are no tax implications.

“Our overall goal is to make sure our employees recognize that we value their contributions to the organization.” —Jason Oxman, CAE, Information Technology Industry Council

Clutter-free Fridays. ITI does not schedule internal meetings on Fridays, giving staff the end-of-week opportunity to catch up, recharge creatively, and focus. It also offers summer hours, which start in May. The office closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays, which “allows everyone to decompress for the weekend a little early,” Oxman said.

“I absolutely love it,” said ITI Senior Director of Marketing and Membership Natasha Goodwin. Meetings-free Fridays allow Goodwin to check off items on her to-do list and get to items she hasn’t tackled yet.

DEI culture groups. A core tenet of ITI’s mission is to integrate DEI throughout the organization’s culture. Staff-driven DEI culture groups develop educational initiatives and engagement opportunities. Recent efforts include finalizing ITI’s DEI statement and organizing group discussions on intersectionality and workplace allyship.

Skill development. ITI’s human resources team continually seeks out feedback from staff with surveys to find out what they need. The group offers staff access to LinkedIn Learning and earmarks funding so when they identify a specific learning opportunity they would like to pursue, they are able to access the resources to advance their skills.

Hybrid office. ITI is operating on a hybrid model and gives employees the choice of which three days they want to be in the office each week. “We know that having everybody physically in the same place at the same time is not necessary,” Oxman said. “The flip side of that is that flexibility is one of the things that makes us attractive as an employer.”

Funded workspace. ITI provided employees a stipend twice during the pandemic to purchase home office equipment they needed to do their jobs effectively. The funds allowed Goodwin to create a workspace in her basement with a desk, laptop stand, bookshelf, and printer-scanner.

Floating holiday. In addition to the standard list of federal holidays, ITI gives staff one floating holiday a year as part of its commitment to DEI. These are usually approved without question, Goodwin said, which enhances work-life balance.

These benefits are making a difference. “I feel like this company really values who I am and trusts me to do my work,” Goodwin said. “I’ve been in an environment where I’ve been micromanaged, and this is the total opposite of that. We trust each other, we support each other, and because of that I’m empowered to do a good job every day.”

For his part, Oxman is confident in the flexibility and latitude he is giving his employees.

“If you’ve got that track record as a team, it’s impossible for me to imagine any scenario where the flexibility we offer our employees is based on misplaced trust,” he said. “No regrets, no problems. This is the best it could be.”

Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now.

More from Staff Well-Being

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has had flexible schedules and results-oriented work in place since before the pandemic. The policies are the foundation for staff well-being and success in accomplishing ASCO’s mission.
With more employees than ever changing jobs, smart strategies for staff retention are especially essential. Two experts share tips on what encourages workers to stick around.