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Ann Browning, a Kellogg alumni career coach, delivered a presentation during the Nov. 18 career forum, hosted by Kellogg and held at the James L. Allen Center. More than 160 people participated.

Ann Browning

Leaving ‘9 to 5’ behind

Kellogg career forum offers alumni a new perspective on workplace options; initiative attracts graduates from other top schools too

By Amy Trang

11/25/2008 - Say goodbye to the 40-hour work week.

More employers are creating a professional environment that includes the option to work outside the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. routine, panelists said during a career forum Nov. 18 at the James L. Allen Center. More than 160 people attended the “Next Generation of Work Flexibility Career Forum” hosted by the Kellogg School’s Alumni Career Services, a department within the Kellogg Career Management Center, and YourOnRamp, an online resource for women in career transitions.

Matthew Temple
Kellogg Director of Alumni Career Services Matthew Temple told attendees at a Nov. 18 career forum that employers are seeking innovative ways to retain top staff members.
Photo © Rich Foreman
Jody Thompson
Jody Thompson, co-founder of CultureRx, a consultancy that helps companies manage work/life balance issues, participated in a panel discussion at the Nov. 18 Kellogg career forum.
Photo © Rich Foreman
Panelists, who included representatives from Aquent, Accenture and Deloitte, discussed the various options that companies offer employees to complete their projects and maintain a positive work/life balance. Some examples included a three-month sabbatical after three years of service, job sharing, flex hours and working from home two or three days a week.

“There are outside needs that can’t always be met within the confines of a regular job,” said Matthew Temple, director of Alumni Career Services.

Temple added that sometimes employees must cut back their workload because of personal obligations and employers are beginning to recognize that they would prefer to retain high performers on a flexible basis rather than lose them altogether.

“How do you get and retain the best talent?” Temple asked. “Employers acknowledge that even if they are getting that person for 30 hours a week, they are still seeing a benefit.”
Employers also see increased productivity and retention rates when they offer work flexibility, said Ann Browning, Kellogg School alumni career coach.

Part of the career forum focused on the job-search process, with a workshop presented by Temple, Browning, Kellogg School alumni career coach Karie Davis and YourOnRamp co-founder Millie Froeb, who provided tips on résumé building and interviewing.

This was the first time that Kellogg Alumni Career Services held an event that was open to non-Kellogg graduates. The event attracted alumni from Northwestern University, other universities in the Chicago area and 30 other top-rated business schools, Temple said. The diverse participants provided more networking potential for attendees, he added.

Temple said that Alumni Career Services plans to host more workshops this year in cities with large Kellogg alumni populations. Webinars are another possible tool that career services will use to reach alumni outside of those populated areas, Browning said.

The Kellogg Career Management Center’s mission is to provide Kellogg students and alumni with the resources and skills to pursue their career goals. Alumni Career Services offers lifetime resources to alumni of all Kellogg degree programs, including self-assessment diagnostics, résumé review, job-search strategies and negotiations insights.