By Terri M. Bernhardt

SLoanOne of the greatest compliments an organization can receive is to be considered a great place to work and to publicly bear honors for their employees’ accomplishments. The employees at the Naval Air Warfare Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) know first-hand what it feels like to work for a winning team and a strong leadership program.

The NAWCTSD command has been located in Research Park for more than 25 years and during this time the organization has always considered their employees to be their most valuable asset. This philosophy shines through when reviewing their concepts and policies. Although NAWCTSD has been the recipient of many awards, it is remarkable to note the two recent honors that were announced.

In July, the Orlando Sentinel announced that NAWCTSD made the Florida’s Top 100 Companies for Working Families list. The Sentinel’s Top 100 is considered locally as a premier award program spotlighting companies that demonstrate a core commitment to family and work/life balance. Criteria for the winning companies was evaluated for employee benefits, family-related benefits, work environment, communication, and training.

NAWCTSD earned an increasingly higher spot on the Orlando Sentinel Top 100 Companies for Working Families list for eight consecutive years. This year, they were ranked 16th out of the group of 100, its highest ranking ever.

“The stuff we do and have here is designed to take care of our greatest resource — our people,” said Commanding Officer, Capt. Steve Nakagawa, “and more than 100 of them have been here for the entire 25 years that our command has been located in the Central Florida Research Park.”

Along with the great leadership training and mentoring programs that NAWCTSD provides, there is a long list of items that increase the “quality of work place environment.” Employees have benefits at YMCA fitness centers, an on-site gym with fitness activities, a locker room area to shower and change, an employee newsletter, on-site ATM machine, mail room, wellness programs, an area for nursing mothers, flu shots and more.

NAWCTSD also earned national attention by winning the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. This second recognition was announced in August for NAWCTSD’s innovative use of workforce strategies to support their employees.

This impressive award, which is part of the national When Work Works project administered by Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), acknowledges companies and organizations who are above the national norm in their practices and policies.

Workplace flexibility such as flextime, part-time work and compressed workweeks has been demonstrated to help businesses remain competitive while also benefiting employees. Flexibility in combination with other aspects of an effective workplace such as learning opportunities and supervisor support for job success, can have a powerful impact on employee engagement and motivation. Research has shown that a happy workforce will experience lower stress levels, which leads to better health and a longer desire to stay within the company.

The Sloan Awards pay particular attention to a company’s flexibility programs. Winners of the Sloan Award portray a creative use of a flexible workplace. In this evaluation, NAWCTSD ranked in the top 20 percent of employers nationally in terms of its programs, policies and culture for creating an effective and flexible workplace. What makes the evaluation even more credible is the fact that FWI solicits information from the employees through a confidential survey.

“Speaking on behalf of our employees, I’m very pleased and honored by the award,” said Nakagawa. “We have an incredibly accomplished workforce here. These men and women not only excel in their daily work with training and simulation systems, but also make incredible contributions to making our organization a great, innovative place to work.”

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