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The Workforce Optimas Awards are a celebration of the power of human resources management. Annually, Workforce recognizes HR programs that have made their businesses better. The winners are selected in 10 categories: General Excellence, Competitive Advantage, Financial Impact, Global Outlook, Innovation, Managing Change, Partnership, Quality of Life, Service, and Vision. The winning programs are profiled in the March issue of Workforce magazine with additional information provided at Workforce online.

It is with great pleasure that Workforce celebrates the winners of Optimas Awards 1991:

General Excellence:
First Chicago Corporation
HR transformed itself from an administrative function to a strategic player. In addition, a strategic diagnostic defines and assesses the economy, demographics and education to help HR shape its objectives.

Competitive Advantage:
Saturn Corporation
A unique labor/management partnership helped General Motors’ start-up division meet quality goals and deliver a product to compete with the best of the import cars.

Financial Impact:
Allied-Signal Incorporation
HR at Allied-Signal created the first nationwide managed health care system. Called the Health Care Connection, the plan combines features of HMOs with elements of traditional indemnity plans.

Global Outlook:
Whirlpool Corporation
After buying a European appliance manufacturer in 1989, Whirlpool faced being a global operation for the first time. HR used a global leadership conference to address the issues, and created 15 global project teams to solve problems.

Mrs. Fields Incorporated
The company’s Retail Operations Intelligence (ROI) system is a powerful software tool that helps its store managers focus on training and customer service. The system schedules crew, offers interview questions, produces sales projections and more.

Managing Change:
Sleep Inn
In anticipation of expected labor shortages and declining productivity in the service industry, HR engineers helped design a hotel chain that requires minimal staffing levels.

Capital Holding Corporation
Through partnerships with a local community college and a local secondary school, Capital Holding has developed a pipeline of bright, dedicated employees.

Quality of Life:
Marriott Corporation
Marriott has a whole department dedicated to help employees balance the demands of work and family. The department has taken many steps to help, ranging from on-site child care to a resource and referral network.

Allergan Incorporated
Allergan’s Hr department has been structured and restructured to meet the demands of a growing business. Even the HR professionals at Allergan don’t have a name for the structure, but they have managed to sustain a function that’s both centralized and decentralized.

US Steel
A unique training program that taught employees how their jobs contribute to the overall process has helped US Steel meet stringent environmental standards.