Work/life a balancing act, Network says
Latest Best Practices report focuses on solutions
“Balancing Acts: People-Friendly Policies That Build Productivity” was underwritten by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG, a NEW sponsor. It is NEW’s fifth Best Practices report designed to help companies in the consumer products and retail industry retain and recruit diverse leadership teams.
The report details progressive work/life programs and policies in place at such companies as Avon, Colgate-Palmolive, Frito-Lay, the J.M. Smucker Company, General Mills, The Kellogg Company, Kraft, KPMG, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. Retailers cited include Publix, Wegman’s and Whole Foods. All of the companies are on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies ranking or Fortune’s magazine’s 100 top companies survey.
Top solutions in the report include flexible and alternative work schedules, compressed workweeks, telecommuting, job-sharing, extended leaves, and “on and off-ramps” for executives. Other popular options include child and eldercare support and healthy lifestyle programs.
KPMG launched a transformational “employer of choice” strategy in early 2002, and achieved impressive results in just a few short years. The number of employees who said the firm was “a great place to work” rose from 53 percent in 2003 to 75 percent in 2005. “In an industry where turnover is traditionally higher for women than for men, a menu of family policies [has] helped KPMG score a 10 percent increase in female retention last year and a 15 percent increase in the number of female employees,” Human Resource magazine said.
“One of the top three drivers of turnover is need for better work/life balance,” says Ingrid Ruiz, Frito-Lay’s Director of Organization Effectiveness and Inclusion says. “Providing our associates with options to better manage their work and personal priorities directly impacts their desire to stay and our ability to attract top talent.”
PepsiCo, the parent company of Frito-Lay, is “committed to creating a workplace culture and environment in which employees balance and harmonize their work and personal priorities, according to their individual needs and the needs of the business,” Ruiz says. The consumer products firm is working on providing "a compelling menu of work/life options, including flextime, telecommuting, health and well-being programs, child- and dependent care assistance, financial support, and community involvement opportunities and matching gifts."
Ninety-three percent of women who take off ramps have “every intention of returning,” according to a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy. But while women in business off-ramp for an average of just 1.2 years, the financial consequences can be severe, the Center reports. Women in business lose an average of 28 percent in earning power when they interrupt their careers. Many off-ramped women are unable to find comparable employment, and some are not able to find professional employment at all.
“Flex policies reduce the need for career interruptions—and ease the way for talented
executives who do take a career break to stay trained, connected and return to standard work schedules,” NEW reports. “Instead of opting out of the workforce altogether, employees can take paid leave, unpaid sabbaticals, work at home, or take advantage of flextime or reduced work schedules. And for those who must leave completely, some companies have established alumni groups that keep former employees connected and offer a path back to company employment.” Career development, mentoring and networking are also critical.
NEW’s Best Practices report on work/life offers an action agenda for industry companies. The agenda urges companies to offer a menu of flexible work options; transform corporate cultures to eliminate the stigma associated with alternative work schedules; foster networking and mentoring; sponsor affinity networks; get employee feedback; maintain links to off-ramped employees; develop metrics and track results; and centralize and publicize work/life options.
The ROI from work/life solutions is extraordinary, according to NEW. One large firm estimates that the cost of losing one of its top employees is 60 times greater than the annual cost of providing a more flexible work arrangement. Sandra Bushby, a member of the Network of Executive Women’s board of directors and director of KPMG’s Women’s Initiative, notes that “60 percent of U.S. college undergraduates are women. They earn half of all law degrees and about a third of all MBA degrees in the United States. Nearly half of U.S. businesses are owned by women. As women continue their steady rise in influence and affluence, [our] women’s initiative will enable us to win these powerful decision-makers.”
For an advance copy of the “Balancing Acts: People-Friendly Policies That Build Productivity”” Best Practices Special Report, contact NEW Executive Director Joan Toth, (312) 693-5393.
NEW Forum focuses on vice presidents and above
August event in Dallas by invitation only
This invitation-only event is reserved for vice presidents and above in the consumer packaged goods and retail industry. The program was created for senior-level executives by a committee of senior-level executives, NEW says.
Network President Helayne Angelus, vice president, Global CBD Diversity, for Procter & Gamble, will host the event, which will be led by Trudy Bourgeois, founder and president of the Center for Workforce Excellence.
“Meet the Champions” roundtable discussions will be led by Chris Baldwin, president of Hershey North America; Tom Greco, president of PepsiCo Sales; Don Knauss, CEO
of Clorox; and Celia Swanson, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Stores. Roundtable discussions will also be led by a senior-level executive from Coca-Cola and a senior-level executive from Procter & Gamble. James White, senior vice president of consumer brands for Safeway, will lead a workshop on “Transformation.”
“Gender diversity in management is a critical component of CPG/retail profitability. But our industry still has room to grow on this front,” according to NEW. “The Forum is designed to help organizations transcend institutional, individual and cultural barriers to management diversity by providing advanced guidance for senior-level CPG/retail executives, opportunities for individual and organizational networking, a supportive environment for peer idea exchange, and leadership insights that will drive you and your company.
For more information on this on other NEW events, contact Anna Duran of NEW member services, (713) 888-5305.
Nancy Krawczyk joins Network staff
Former Campbell executive will direct client relations
Krawczyk will help maximize return on investment to NEW’s sponsors companies, support the Network’s corporate Ambassadors, assist in the establishment of NEW regional committees, and help activate NEW members. Krawczyk played a major role in establishing the Network’s Greater Philadelphia committee last year.
Krawczyk began her career in the CPG industry at McCormick & Company. After two years, she joined the marketing team at the Campbell Soup Company, where she managed multimillion-dollar brands and budgets, launched new items and advertising, and developed personnel. After seven years she moved into sales, where she spent ten years working with retailers in a variety of roles, including category management and customer marketing. In her last position, as the Director of Trade and Industry Communication, she developed sales strategies, created trade advertising and wrote numerous articles about industry best practices. She was a founding member of the Women of Campbell’s Network and was president of this affinity group from 2003 to 2007.
Interview with Nancy Krawczyk
NEW Leadership Summit to offer ‘smart choices’
Author Barbara McFarland will top October bill
Dr. Barbara McFarland, author of The Balanced Life, will be a keynote
speaker at the 2007 NEW Annual Leadership Summit in Dallas, Oct. 15-16.
NEW members discuss leadership at March events
Straight talk from industry executives, former Marines
Leadership was the topic at two events attended by Network of Executive Women members and supporters in March.
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