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Care@Work / Care@Work Blog / A Big Bang Theory of Care

A Big Bang Theory of Care

Patrick Ball on May 04, 2016 11:08 AM

The question was simple. The answer was too. Then it was anything but. 

As a participant in the Milken Institute's Global Conference 2016, Founder, Chairwoman and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo was asked to contribute an original op-ed through a curated LinkedIn Series. The question -- posed to leaders from finance, government, education and other sectors -- was this: "What are the most pressing issues that are facing your industry today, and how can we best address them?" 

The simple answer, of course, is everything.

"Take politics, Millennials, the gig economy or any polarizing topic of the day," Sheila wrote. "It'd be easy to think these have nothing to do with care. But it's near impossible to ignore the connection between care and politics, demographic shifts or consumer technology."

In her post, Sheila looked at the cause-and-effect relationships that policy changes, the gig economy and demographic shifts have with the way we care for our loved ones.

Here, we'll highlight the biggest takeaways for business leaders. 

1. Will changing the way employers approach work-family issues be the lasting legacy of Millennials in the workplace?

Statistics regularly demonstrate a shifting set of values among and illustrate the need for employers to adapt to the realities of today’s workforce. One powerful recent example is Coco-Cola expanding its paid parental leave policy in response to its Millennial Voices employee group. And there’s something we at affectionately refer to as the Zuckerberg Effect, referring to the way Mark Zuckerberg’s public displays of dad-ness are empowering a generation of fathers to prioritize caregiving as well as financially supporting their families. At a time when absenteeism, lost productivity and other care-related issues costs American businesses more than $20 billion annually, providing family-care benefits is vital to maintaining our standing as a global economic leader.

2. Without a federal paid leave policy, employers are leveraging maternity and paternity leave plans to help win the talent wars. 

Leading employers, as we’ve seen with EY and Twitter in recent weeks, have announced expanded and increasingly gender-neutral parental leave policies, believing supporting working caregivers gives them a competitive advantage. Paid leave supports keeping women in the workplace and thus drives organizational performance and overall GDP growth.

3. Organizations suffer when their employees struggle with care needs. 

A recent survey of Harvard Business School alumni found that 37 percent of Millennial women who aren’t yet moms expect to interrupt their careers for parenting. We know child care is the single biggest budget item for most families, and a survey found that 70 percent of working parents say the cost of child care affects their career choices. A majority of Sandwich Generation caregivers are forced to make career adjustments – such as turning down promotions, scaling back hours or even leaving jobs – due to care demands.  Our mounting care crisis affects all of us. We have new mothers dropping out of the workforce, senior caregivers scaling back hours and enterprises losing billions in lost productivity costs, such as absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.

Read Sheila's Full Post on LinkedIn

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