This blog has gone into the importance of employee engagement and how to improve it many times. But it really cannot be understated how important it is for employees to be engaged in their work, both for their job satisfaction, and for the bottom line, employees are much more productive when effectively engaged. In the modern workplace, where women are increasingly represented in teams, it is important to consider specific needs to ensure your female workers are well engaged also. As a female writer, I somewhat grit my teeth as I say that an issue important to women is their children. This is because I know it shouldn’t just be a woman’s problem, and that childcare should be the responsibility of men just as much as women. But in reality, society still places the majority of the burden of childcare on the mother. It follows then, that a really effective way of ensuring productivity of your female employees is to ensure they can look after their children.
Marissa Mayer of Yahoo
Traditionally, a popular strategy is to job-share or to work from home. But ultimately, there is some downsides to this idea. Not being in a work environment and not being physically present to assist the lines of communication between coworkers and ensure effective teamwork can certainly hamper employee engagement and put detract from productivity. This is why the female CEO of Yahoo took the controversial step to ban remote working. For her, however, she did not see this as a problem in terms of her other parenting responsibilities, as she set up her own personal nursery in her office.
Since then, more and more companies are offering the option of onsite childcare to satisfy the needs of their female workers, and keep them engaged in their roles. London-based investment banking firm “Goldman-Sachs” opened up their first internal corporate office creche as early as 2003. In addition, they offer subsidies and provide free-of-charge childcare in transitional times when parents return to work from taking parental leave. This has been so successful that they have rolled out the program to their Tokyo and New York offices, and they find a local childcare to subsidise if they can’t provide a local facility.
The business case for office-based childcare
Ultimately, onsite childcare is a fantastic driver of recruitment and retention. People want to work somewhere where they feel their family-life will be supported. Not only that, but the cost of replacing employees due to family commitments is exorbitant, especially when the employees are competent, with a good knowledge of the company processes and clients.
The Australian example
As yet, most Australian companies are not on board with this initiative, though it makes a lot of sense. The costs of running these facilities is certainly prohibitive for some smaller companies. One solution to this issue is being spearheaded by KidsCo Australia. This start-up offers “pop-up” creches provided in office spaces during school holidays in whatever environments are offered to them by companies. This solves the problem of the mismatch between school holidays and annual leave at least. With this program, parents can be put at ease, knowing their children are well taken care of during the school holidays, and there is no extra drop-off and pick-up time.