Ecolab has been on a path of culture change since 2008. With its Culture & Inclusion initiative, it committed to creating an environment where associates at every level feel valued, respected, and seen for who they are so that they can do their best work.

One way that the company demonstrates this commitment is through its FlexWork program, which offers Ecolab associates the flexibility to meet both work and life responsibilities. Launched across the United States in August 2010, the program provides tools and resources that are designed to support each associate as he or she pursues a flexible work situation.

A focus of the FlexWork program was to create a mindset open to flexibility and to challenge the thinking that productivity is linked to time in the office. Through a series of education sessions, the program helped managers learn more about work flexibility and dispel the illusion of “face-time” being indispensable to top performance. “Measure performance by results, not presence,” is one of the principles that guide the program.

The FlexWork program has two components: Formal Flexible Work Arrangements, like telecommuting and job sharing, and EveryDay Flexibility for occasional needs. The more formal arrangement calls for a thorough application process that reflects the second guiding principlea “consistent process with individual outcomes.”

An essential element of this application process is that associates are never asked why they want a more flexible work arrangement. “What matters to the company is that I’m a good employee and I can handle my work responsibly,” said one associate.

The principles assure that the FlexWork program is performance-focused, consistent, fair in its allocation of responsibilities, and reason-blind. The principle, “Focus on business objectives,” acknowledges that work flexibility must be as good for Ecolab’s business as it is for its employees.

Recently, Ecolab associates took the 2011 Your Voice Matters survey that gauges employee satisfaction. When the results are in, Ecolab hopes that they will reflect the impact of the FlexWork program and support its belief that the success of its associates and the success of the company go hand-in-hand.