Contributor: Meaghan Casey
Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).
On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Dave Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a leading provider of employer-sponsored family care services including child care; back-up care for dependents of all ages; educational advisory services; tuition assistance program management; and work/life consulting.
The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.
Stew Friedman: Your Company, Bright Horizons, just released a study, the Bright Horizon Modern Family Index, which revealed very important – and rather disturbing findings – about the state of working families in America. Would you share with us the headlines?
Dave Lissy: Over the years we’ve been committed to shining a light on issues facing working families, and from time to time we do studies like this. The goal with the Modern Family Index was to test where’s people’s attitudes are – in 2014 – about how employees think about these work and life issues. The survey produced some really interesting information.
Some results were startling, for example even in 2014 working parents still fear many things related to trying to balance work and life. They fear, in the worse case, that their family responsibilities could get in the way of them getting promoted, achieving their career goals, or even continuing their employment. Even in 2014, we found that some of these attitudes of fear still exist.
On the other side, the study showed us the difference it can make for employees who are fortunate to work in supportive workplaces with employers that really get this. And most importantly, the study showed us the difference it can make for employees who work for supportive bosses. What our data shows us is that company policies are extremely important and that the tone from the top is really important but it’s really the attitude of one’s direct supervisor that makes a difference. The age-old adage that people tend to quit their boss and not their company relates a lot to this issues facing working families and how supportive one’s direct supervisor is or is not.
SF: Let me just briefly recount some of the data. 48% of working parents fear loosing their jobs because of family obligations. 39% fear that they might be denied a raise because of family obligations. 26% fear being demoted and 19% fear being excluded from important meetings because of their family responsibilities. Those are scary numbers.
DL: Yes, those are scary numbers. It shows that even in today’s world – with all the progress we’ve made – that this fear still exists and there’s still a lot of work to do on the dialogue between employers and employees.
SF: And that’s part of the work you are doing. I believe that 80% of 100 best companies to work for, at least according to Working Mother’s annual study, are clients of yours. Is that accurate?
DL: Yes, 80% of the Working Mother 100 Best Companies to Work For are clients of Bright Horizons as are many others that are recognized on lists such as Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for in America are our clients as well. The most interesting piece to me is that when you look at some of these lists, there has been work done to research the financial successes of these organizations that have been recognized for supportive workplaces. And they tend to outperform the S&P and other benchmarks over time.
We’re proud to have relationships with many leading employers, almost 1,000 leading employers in every industry. But I am also very proud that the work that we do has translated into financial benefits for many of our clients.
Dave Lissy is the Chief Executive Officer of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a company which works with nearly 1,000 of today’s leading employers, including more than 130 of the FORTUNE 500, to provide benefits that yield improved productivity, job satisfaction and engagement, and overall well-being for their employees. To learn more about his work, go to their website: http://solutionsatwork.brighthorizons.com/ and follow them on twitter: @BrightHorizons.
If you would like to access the findings from the interesting and important Modern Family Index Study we discussed on the show, please visit:http://www.multivu.com/mnr/7227551-bright-horizons-modern-family-employees-struggling-responsibilities.
Join Work and Life next on August 5th at 7:00 PM ET on Sirius XM Channel 111 for conversations with Monique Valcour. Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.
About the Author
Meaghan Casey is an MBA candidate WG’15.