retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times has a story about many companies are adopting more family-friendly employment policies, in part spurred on by low unemployment rates and in part by available cash loosened by new tax laws.

“By focusing on family-friendly benefits,” the <>Times writes, “companies are also catching up to the fact that family life has changed faster than workplace or public policies. In families of all income levels, it’s more common for both parents to work or women to be the breadwinners, and the lack of family-friendly benefits has led to declining labor force participation as people struggle to combine work and parenthood.
Benefits like paid parental leave are a crucial factor for people, especially women, in continuing to work. Yet hourly workers, who generally have the most need for paid parental leave, have also been the least likely to get it. Only recently have more companies begun to change that.”

But what the research shows is that when companies adopt more family-friendly policies, it isn’t just the employees who experience the benefits. In fact, up and down the line, employees become more committed to the company, more engaged in their work, and more productive - all of which is good for the bottom line. The Times story also points out that it is best for companies when these policies are extended to low-wage employees and not just those on salary; hourly workers, it says, actually need the changes the most … and their happiness can have an impact on a business’s front lines.

You can read the story here.

This is very much in line with an approach that we’ve been espousing around here from the beginning … that companies only are as strong as the people they have on the front lines, and that sustainable business models ought to be built around policies that demonstrate to these folks that the company wants to invest in them and their success. I’m not saying that this is easy, especially for companies with long histories of doing things a certain way. And, it gets even more challenging today, a time when companies also have to adopt innovation-oriented cultures that are critical to their survival.

But I think these two things go hand in hand, because a lot of innovation can be generated by people who traditionally have been seen as being at the bottom of the organizational chain, but who actually are connected to how things work better than those in corner offices.

Read the Times piece. Think about it.

I think it is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: