February, 07, '14
To ensure a sustainable future, as pointed out in the Europe 2020 strategy of the European Union, it is required to put Corporate Family Responsibility at the heart of Community policy.
Considering sustainable development exclusively from an economic, social and environmental perspective would leave aside key aspects that affect people and condition their quality of life and the future of society.
In order to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth it is necessary to go to the causes that created the problems. So as to alleviate these problems in Europe, the Community needs to:
Reduce the school dropout rate to less than 10% and increase to more than 40% the number of young people graduating in higher education;
Get the employment rate for women to equate that of men;
Guarantee that women be present in equal conditions in all levels of the company;
Make sure that the birth rate covers the generation it replaces.
As of this year, 2014, the number of persons over 60 will increase in Europe twice what did
until 2007. As indicated in the Community strategy, the combination of a smaller workforce a and a greater proportion of retirees will result in more tensions of our well-being.
The solution to these challenges is to recognize and strengthen the role of families in social development, and promote the implementation of policies, strategies and effective programs at the Community level.
IESE Business School is a pioneer in matters of work and family reconciliation. In order to study these issues, it founded in 1999 the International Center for Work and Family (ICWF), directed by Dr. Nuria Chinchilla. Its purpose is to promote, in the business environment, the type of leadership, culture and reconciliation policies that facilitate the integration of the employees’ professional, family and personal life.
To this end, the ICWF has developed the IFREI, an instrument that measures the degree of Corporate Family Responsibility and their impact on outcomes, individuals, families, and the whole of society.
So far, 16,000 people from 21 countries on five continents, representing a universe of more than 100,000 people have participated. Research data indicate that only 46% of the population surveyed works in environments that favor the integration of work, family and personal life.
The results of the world IFREI confirm that people who work in companies with CFR:
Are 19% more productive.
Are four times less likely to leave the company.
Have 60% greater satisfaction with work-family balance.
Claim to enjoy general good health in 78% of the cases.
If they must care for small children, their health is 40% better than that of those who are in the same situation in environments without CFR.
If they must care for dependent parents, they enjoy excellent health, 71% more than those in companies that make it difficult to reconcile.
Dedicate 37% more time to read, 32% more to play and 21% more to have dinner with their children, than those who are in work environments that prevent them to balance their work and family life.
54% have a high quality of life, compared with 15% for those who workin Companies that have no CFR.
Despite these and many other benefits, data shows that 70% of employees are afraid to ask for flexibility or request any measure that is out of standard. A problem that lies in the culture, values and management styles.
To achieve a sustainable future, a common Community policy needs to be promoted in all member States, one that enhances a culture focused on values of Flexibility, Femininity and the Family.
Flexibility, to adapt to the changes and the needs of people and the environment, in order to generate commitment and confidence.
Femininity, to boost complementarity in a business world dominated by male
values, with a rigid, mechanical and short-term vision of reality.
Family, for sustainability in Europe and the world in general, as well as the natural environment that creates human and social capital.
Europe needs to find its direction again regarding the family to build a peoplecentered society. Without the time, energy or adequate compensation, in addition to lower productivity, it is difficult to have children, educate them and care for them; care for the elderly; get training and participate as active citizens in improving society.
CFR helps create economic, social and ethical value, and makes possible a more fair, productive and sustainable society in which women and men can enjoy the same rights and opportunities.
• ICWF-IESE: http://www.iese. edu/es/claustro-investigacion/centros-investigacion/icwf/
• IFREI: http://ifrei.iese.edu/
• Work-Family Foundation Canada: http://workfamilyfoundation.org/
Prof. Mireia Las Heras
This article has been published in The Parliament Magazine, issue 382, pages 46-47.