September 14, 2000
The Workforce Optimas Awardsare a celebration of the power of human resources management. Annually, Workforcerecognizes HR programs that have made their businesses better. The winners areselected in 10 categories: General Excellence, Competitive Advantage, FinancialImpact, Global Outlook, Innovation, Managing Change, Partnership, Quality ofLife, Service, and Vision. The winning programs are profiled in the March issueof Workforce magazine with additional information provided at Workforceonline.

It is with great pleasure that Workforce celebrates the winners of Optimas Awards 1997:

Bank of Montreal
From workplace equality initiatives to work/life support, from student-apprentice programs to an institute for learning: At the Bank of Montreal, the buck stops with HR.

Grace Cocoa Associates
By teaching executives to become global thinkers, HR has helped six organizations around the world that had little experience dealing with one another become one cohesive -- and globally competitive -- company.

First Tennessee National Corporation
HR has done extensive work to cost-justify its work/life efforts. The numbers prove that the program cuts turnover and helps retain customers.

Cirque du Soleil Inc.
HR at Cirque du Soleil is trying to serve what amounts to a moving target: More than 1,200 employees representing 17 nationalities and speaking 13 languages attached to show tours playing all over the world. In response, HR decentralized many HR functions while focusing on core values and communication to preserve the culture.

TBWA Chiat/Day, Los Angeles
HR systems support the ad agency’s virtual office: Employees don’t have assigned work stations, desks, computers, or phones. Instead, they’re encouraged to work wherever—and however—they’re most productive

Malden Mills Industries Incorporated
A devastating fire destroyed three of Malden’s buildings and displaced 1,400 employees. HR helped get the rebuilding process by creating a special center to keep the displaced employees informed and to retrain them. The center was later used through two painfuldownsizings.

GE Fanuc Automation North America Incorporated
The company’s High Involvement Workforce, made possible by HR, has made revolutionary change. Management layers have been eliminated, more than 40 work teams set their own goals and measurements, and managers are evaluated on their support of teams

Qualityof Life:
Fox Inc.
A compassionate approach to benefits means that employees with life-threatening illnesses get the help they need.

Continental Airlines
Lousy customer service, lost bags and a poor on-time record—coupled with two bankruptcies—made Continental the laughingstock of the airline industry. Incentive pay, streamlined policies, and aggressive communication have fueled a total turnaround in results and profits.

E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company
The company’s pioneer training program, "A Matter of Respect," addressed sexual harassment issues years before it became routine in corporate America. Other elements have since been added to help sustain a hostility-free workplace.