Sallie Krawcheck wrote a great piece in Forbes about Flexibility Without Shame that really resonated with me. It’s no secret that fully engaging women in the workforce will increase our GDP and the economy significantly. The problem with engaging more women remains the flexibility factor.
Krawcheck divided working women who chose to have children into two groups. The first group, working full-time, holding on for dear life, exhausted due to working and raising young children. Sixty percent of these moms yearn for a flexible work option. The next group leaves the workforce – all 5.4 million of them, to raise their younglings but they end up paying a hefty economic price.
The re-entry for those who took an extended hiatus proves to be very difficult for 73% since employers are wary of their employment gap. Those who do manage to get back on track return to work with significant drops in income.
As Krawcheck so wisely stated in a previous piece she posted on LinkedIn – “Let’s Admit it: Women Are Different From Men” so smart companies need to get with the program and implement some flexible work options.
Since women are largely the Chief Household Officers, maintaining the home and the kids while not at work, employers need to build cultures that allow women to work flexible schedules without shame.
“Technology enables flexibility, productivity, and team formation in ways not previously possible,” according to Krawcheck. She maintains that having employees fully engaged in part-time work can be better than having them distractedly engaged in full-time work – or to opt out completely.
It’s not wise to burn out great employees and spend money and time replacing them. Krawcheck’s concept of flexibility without shame is a smart long term investment in talented individuals who will represent a highly credentialed workforce.
Enlightened companies that implement flexible work plans will reap the rewards by capitalizing on the return on investment of their employees. Flexibility should be lauded and not shamed. Cheers to you, Sallie Krawcheck and let’s keep this conversation going!