Productivity And Conciliation? I have wanted to write about this issue for some time, as I am concerned to see that these words are meeting less often each time. Many organizations are forcing a high percentage of our workers, women, to decide between having a professional life or being a mother…. when it is not an exclusive choice.
The issue that I want to address in this article is, at best, tricky, but I will try to treat it honestly. I do not intend in any case to make any type of sexist / feminist plea, since, in my opinion, we are different, and neither better nor worse … and I think that generalizing is bad politics. From the outset, I will say that I do not believe that there is equality in employment in a significant part of the companies in this country, and sadly I have found on more than one occasion that it is true that there are inequalities in terms of salary and opportunities … I think that there should be no discrimination in no case, neither in the negative plane and certainly not in the positive one either.
The main axis on which I want to move is the choice that in many cases should make women who want to have a child and continue with their professional career … but without neglecting either. This obviously also applies to women who want to continue caring for their children, and let’s not forget, men (although it is less common). Not allowing this reconciliation we are wasting the talent of a large number of professionals who, faced with the dilemma, decide to stop working for a few years … and as I will expand later, lowering the productivity of our country.
I have to admit that I was skeptical that this type of behavior continued to occur today … “in the XXI century “. He had always argued that such occurrences were of a punctual nature and were relegated to small companies in which managers of another generation held the reins…. What a surprise for me when a few years ago, women around me decided to become mothers, and they began to suffer pressure to leave work or assume positions of less responsibility (suffering even in some cases mobbing). And they were not all small businesses of the last century, far from it…
The Point Of View Of The Company
As an “institutional skeptic” that I am, I decided to go a little deeper into the subject, and see it from the point of view of the company first (later we will see from the point of view of Spain as a country). I think that in general companies do not consider that conciliation is something inadequate, nor are they against it per se , but they are concerned about how this can impact costs and productivity, a real workhorse of the Spanish company.
These are some of the questions I asked myself, and the answers (I am not a specialist in the subject, so I will focus more on the aspects of productivity and less on those of legal bonuses … etc. ):
Is it such a huge cost to have a person with a low 16 weeks due to pregnancy?: The first thing that I think is that if a company cannot assume that one of its employees is absent 16 weeks having notified months in advance, it is that before to worry about the issue should analyze how it is organizing work and productive load … and if this person changes work or is out of work for a long time?. I think we should be careful with the silos of knowledge … In any case, the salary of the low person is assumed by the INSS 100% … and there are additional bonuses in the case of substitution.
Productivity And Conciliatio
Does it entail any extra cost, tax or additional tax? If the task of this person cannot be assumed internally, a person must be hired to make the substitution. But since 2007, the Organic Law for the Equality of women and men, if the person with sick leave is replaced with another, the Social Security contributions of both are reduced by 100%…. and when reincorporar follows the same bonus of 4 years, with what the only cost to assume if someone should be hired is the “wage” cost of 4 months of the substitute. This is one of the best system of Productivity And Conciliation.
And that a person reduces his day after that period of 8 to 4 or 6 hours? . This is the eternal point of discord. We can allow ourselves to express our opinion on whether this is good or bad for the company, but let’s not forget that the worker is legally entitled to request a reduction in working hours due to legal guardianship. Beyond that, I think we have to think more in the long term, and consider if it is not a great opportunity to rethink about the useful tasks of that position: experience tells me that we tend to fill the work of hours, and that possibly if that person concentrates on the importance of their work and eliminates “the straw” can give a great performance with fewer hours (that’s the productivity, to do more useful thingsin a period of time, not to work more). In addition, the company has a bonus consisting of 1,200 euros for 4 years, applying this bonus in proportion to the reduced working day. This also another system of Productivity And Conciliation.
Do these people stop being so productive, since they have their heads in other things …? . Curiously, this comment was made by a woman, alleging that when a woman is a mother she stops staying until x every day, worries about other things and leaves at her own time…. And my answer is: and what? Looking at it from the point of view of productivity, it does not surrender more to do 2 more hours every day, but to eliminate the superfluous and produce more work (no more hours). The problem is that this approach forces managers to take on the job of tracking people’s tasks to evaluate productive performance and not only to count how many there are from 19:30 in their chair…
As you begin to intuit, most problems are not such, and are more in our prejudices than in reality … If we objecmos that the worker recover the previous full day without wanting it, it is usual to get a person in his put 8 hours a day, but really in a state of mental absenteeism . That said, it can actually be a problem for a person to decide to reduce their working day by half, but it is a similar problem that people no longer let us work 7 days a week: laws (and common sense) say that’s how it should be … and you have to respect it.
THE POINT OF VIEW AS A COUNTRY
For me this is one of the most important points that we are losing sight of: to force an important sector within our productive force to choose between being a mother or being professional makes us stop having trained, trained and productive professionals … normally replaced by less experienced staff in the position and less productive, at least during the first year. This is also one of the points of Productivity And Conciliation.
But this is not all. Following a very interesting talk offered by Pedro Luis Uriarte , former vice president and CEO of BBVA and current president of Innobasque (Basque Innovation Agency), I was aware of a shocking fact: These women who decide to leave their jobs because they can not reconcile them with their family life, they represent 15% of the Spanish GDP (I have not been able to locate the source).This is also another system of Productivity And Conciliation.
One of the main burdens that Spain has within Europe is the very low productivity index , which directly impacts the country’s competitiveness, which continues to fall freely . Would not it make more sense to try to “rescue” the maximum possible number of women who find themselves in this dilemma? An increase of 15% of GDP (ideal figure) by incorporating this group would have a tremendous impact on the Spanish economy, which would improve the country’s chances of competing, its productivity and possibly accelerating the exit from the crisis in a very important way. In addition, there are already various grants to incorporate this type of profile to our organizations … what do we expect?
Some Reasonable Solutions
It is clear that there is a percentage of mothers who make the decision to devote themselves completely, at least for a few years, to the upbringing of their children, which is why I admire them…. but I think there is a much higher percentage of mothers who, if the market made it easier for them , would happily rejoin their work . Furthermore, we should not forget that in a good working environment, productivity is boosted to very high levels, even surprising ones, and that thanks to these “facilities” a better retention of talent could be achieved, a critical aspect of human capital management. The companies. This is the solution of Productivity And Conciliation.
Most of the options that can be raised must break schemes through a transformation of the business culture, where they pass to prevail concepts such as productivity and not presence, for example. The main benefits obtained from this change would foreseeably include:
Reputation and improvement of the external image
… And in spite of all this, from the organizations we are blinded in seeing only the problems of that conciliation, when there are many ways that a woman who wants to reconcile her professional life with the personal one does it. Some basic ideas:
Flexibility of the day: Except in very specific positions, such as assembly lines, the woman is a “knowledge worker”, and therefore her productivity is not tied to the hours that “in person” is in her job … It is perfectly possible, through a rationalization of the tasks that are made reductions or alterations of the schedule that allow a better conciliation. An interesting example : one of the most expensive positions to “flex” is the commercial ones … and yet, it would be perfectly feasible for ordinary visits to be made during the morning and the telephone to be answered during the rest of the day … This is the system of Productivity And Conciliation.
Teleworking: Not only refers to the employee working from a laptop, but to a whole new way of posing the position. Until now, teleworking has been considered from solitude and isolated work, but it is perfectly feasible to telecommute, not only in positions such as those of programmer but also in management positions: The one that considers that the manager must be physically seeing how his People are an anachronism, especially if what they are interested in are their results … You can be “online” and work in a completely effective way through different tools … How are work teams from different cities or countries arranged?
Meetings: If the professional has access to elements such as video / audio conference (with skype , for example), at a very low cost, many of the meetings can be done in the distance (with great productivity results if they have been properly managed: agenda, responsible, topics, times … etc). And in the case of certain meetings, I do not think there is any problem in that if the professional needs to move. This is another system of Productivity And Conciliation.
In general, many of the problems come because our way of working is geared towards managing exceptions (“what if one day a client wants to have a meeting in the afternoon?”) Instead of managing the real work …. Without taking into account that this flexibility usually exists for both parties ( I have not met anyone who, with an exception, has not “put up the shoulder” ). These are all the systems of Productivity And Conciliation.