Thank you for joining the national workplace flexibility campaign! We appreciate your support of this important initiative. On this page, you will find information on how to talk about workplace flexibility, along with templates for materials that you can use to communicate about this campaign to the press, your colleagues, and other interested parties.
Please feel free to:
Give the “How to Talk About Workplace Flexibility: Messaging” information to your public affairs or press office so they can communicate information about this campaign to key audiences;
Tailor the press release template and distribute it with your logo and the Workplace Flexibility logo, announcing your support of the campaign;
Tailor the “Dear Colleague” letter and send it to your presidential colleagues (especially those working within your system, if applicable, or institutional members of associations that you are also a member of), telling them about the workplace flexibility campaign and asking for their support;
Include the Workplace Flexibility logo on your website, and encourage your colleagues to feature this logo on their website if they join the campaign;
Discuss with your board how you are able to reduce costs by offering flexible work options;
Add a link on your website to ACE’s National Challenge for Higher Education website about the progress of the Workplace Flexibility Campaign: http://www.acenet.edu/nationalchallenge
Include an article in your e-newsletter or print newsletter. ACE’s Institutional Leadership Group staff can help provide the language you need;
Host a webinar for interested parties and constituents and invite ACE’s Institutional Leadership Group staff to speak about the flexibility campaign;
Spread the word about the flexibility campaign on your institution’s blog or social media sites; and
If you’re a member of an association, include workplace flexibility information in your annual conference program.
How to Talk About Workplace Flexibility: Messaging
The following are useful ways to explain workplace flexibility to the press and key audiences—what it is, why it makes both institutional and economic sense, and why your institution has joined the workplace flexibility campaign. Please feel free to use these messaging points in press releases, letters, articles, or on your website.
The National Challenge for Higher Education is an initiative that ACE has undertaken to promote career flexibility for faculty. The White House, the National Academies report (i.e., Beyond Bias and Barriers, 2006), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have all called for broadening awareness of the positive benefits of workplace flexibility. With the assistance of our presidential Coalition Partners, ACE will engage the higher education community in a nationwide campaign to support workplace flexibility that benefits both institutions and faculty.
The landscape of the American workforce has changed dramatically: Now more than ever, more workers are caring for children or the elderly, juggling both work and care giving. It’s time for the workplace to start meeting the needs of the twenty-first-century workforce so that working families and institutions can be healthier, happier, more productive, and more competitive.
Workplace flexibility is not just a perk or accommodation for women with children. Men are demanding flexibility in their careers, as are significant portions of all the generations currently in the workforce. It is an essential institutional strategy to attract and retain faculty, as well as to assist them to meet institutional demand and personal/life obligations. Faculty who have this flexibility become more engaged and less stressed, which increases their productivity; this ultimately improves the institution’s ability to meet its established goals.
We believe that having a culture that supports flexibility enables faculty to meet institutional needs and personal responsibilities. We recognize that flexible work practices contribute to a supportive culture and result in higher quality outcomes for both students and the institutions as a whole.
We are proud to be a part of the national workplace flexibility campaign for higher education. Many visionary higher education institutions across the country have demonstrated that flexibility policies utilized without bias improve performance and result in better quality outcomes. We also know that this challenge can a have significant positive impact on the lives of faculty and on institutional competitiveness in recruiting and retaining the best faculty, thereby improving the quality of instruction and the innovative and competitive research of the faculty.
It is time for higher education to join businesses, government, and others in supporting workplace flexibility to continue the momentum, until it becomes the “new normal” in the higher education workplace.
Higher education should be the leader in this arena, not the rear guard.
Press Release Template for Coalition Partners
Contacts: [Institution’s Media Contact]
[Insert Institution Name] Becomes a Higher Education Champion for Workplace Flexibility to Assist Faculty and Improve Competitiveness
[Insert City and Date]—[Insert Institution Name] has announced that it will join the National Challenge for Higher Education: Retaining a 21st Century Workforce campaign to engage the higher education community and to create a broader awareness of the positive institutional and faculty benefits of workplace flexibility. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this outreach effort builds on successful models of workplace flexibility that have succeeded in corporate America.
The campaign was launched in June 2013 by the American Council on Education (ACE), the coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education associations, and encourages colleges and universities to become “Coalition Partners” by signing a Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility. [Insert President’s Name] has become a Coalition Partner and has expressed [his or her] support for this campaign.
As a Coalition Partner [Insert President’s Name], joins a cohort of leading best-practice champions that recognize that workplace flexibility improves not only the lives of faculty and their families, but also improves [Insert Institution’s Name]’s ability to successfully compete for the best talent, thereby meeting our institutional strategic goals of increasing diversity and inclusion. Additionally, the cost savings to [Insert Institution’s Name] by retaining talented faculty have been proven in several studies.
[PLACEHOLDER FOR QUOTE FROM PRESIDENT].
[IF THERE ARE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOUR INSTITUTION HAS DONE ON WORK/LIFE BALANCE, PLEASE INCLUDE THEM HERE].
The campaign notes that the increasing numbers of faculty who care for children or the elderly necessitates a fundamental change in workplace culture is needed to meet the needs of both institutions and their faculty. Flexible workplace policies and practices make this possible by enabling faculty to better balance their professional work and their personal lives. In turn, reduced turnover leads to increased commitment, engagement and ultimately increased productivity.
“Institutions that are thinking about the future and that want to compete globally are increasingly embracing workplace flexibility policies as a tool to recruit the best and brightest,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. The Coalition Partners in the National Challenge for Higher Education have taken a great step in indicating their commitment to policies that will ultimately help faculty and strengthen their institutions.”
As a Coalition Partner, [Insert Institutional Name] recognizes that flexibility policies are valuable talent recruiting tools that help meet the needs of the institution for diverse faculty. When presidents sign the Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility, they commit to the following principles: to actively communicate the importance of workplace flexibility; to expand flexibility within their own institutions as a tool to advance mission; to educate leaders in strengthening skills for managing flexibility; and to change the culture so that flexibility is accepted broadly, implemented equitably, and made available to faculty throughout their careers. For more information and for periodic updates on the National Challenge for Higher Education, please visit http://www.acenet.edu/nationalchallenge.
About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, its Working Longer program is expanding understanding of aging Americans' work patterns.
About the American Council on Education (ACE)
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and more than 200 related associations nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.
Dear Colleague Letter Template for Coalition Partners
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is supporting the American Council on Education (ACE) to lead a campaign to engage higher education leaders in creating a broader awareness of the positive faculty and institutional benefits of workforce flexibility. Ten institutions joined with ACE as Founding Coalition Partners, and are champions for workplace flexibility. I would like to invite you to join us in this national effort as well.
Institutions that are planning strategically for the future and wish to be globally competitive are embracing flexibility policies as valuable recruiting and retention incentives to enhance their ability to attract the best talent. The demographic changes of the twenty-first century mean that a significant portion of our faculty must care for children and elderly family members while working and juggling a number of other life obligations. Having flexible work arrangements—from job sharing to appropriate leaves—has proven to increase faculty engagement, retention, job satisfaction, and productivity. The retention of these faculty benefits the institution in meeting its mission of diversity and inclusion, while improving instructional quality and increasing grant revenue through satisfied and retained faculty.
To become a Coalition Partner, you must agree to and sign a Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility, which is enclosed. The ten Founding Coalition Partners have already signed the statement, as have a number of other campuses.
As a Coalition Partner supporting workplace flexibility, you will commit your institutional support by actively communicating the importance of flexibility for faculty within your own institution and to other higher education leaders. And you will assist in spreading the word about the campaign to colleagues who will support this important initiative throughout the higher education community.
When you sign the Statement of Support, your institution will join the cohort of leading best practice higher education champions for workplace flexibility, and will be recognized at a high-level event at the end of the campaign. You will be invited to a national meeting, which will provide opportunities to present or serve on a panel in order to communicate your institution’s success in supporting workplace flexibility. Your institution will receive a workplace flexibility logo to place on your website. You can also use this packet of promotional materials to help enlist additional leaders to join the campaign and to educate your own campus community about the options and benefits of workplace flexibility.
Thank you very much for your support of this important campaign to improve the lives of working families, and to strengthen our colleges and universities as well as our nation’s economy, competitiveness, and security.
[Signature of Coalition Partner]