Debby Carreau MBA,CHRP
We have all read the benefits of flex work and telework, but is there a point of diminishing returns?
As an HR professional and a mother of two young children I fully understand and agree with many of the benefits of flexible work arrangements such as employee retention, work life balance, cost savings and in certain circumstances improved productivity but it has a dark side as well. How about when a Fortune 500 CEO makes a business decision to change their policy to improve business performance and it makes headlines in every major paper, or when employees get caught moonlighting on company time and your organization can’t terminate them for cause or when you walk into a local coffee shop only to have the guy sitting next to you all set up with his hard drive, computer keyboard, mouse, 23” monitor and talking loudly on a business call?
As CEOs and managers, can we no longer make employee schedule decisions or hold our employees accountable for their time on the clock? On our time off, can we no longer go to a coffee shop for a coffee without having someone’s office clearly operating out of the table next to us? (Are you sure you really want the public at large overhearing every phone call your employees make?)
Flexible business arrangements are a business decision, not a gender or family status issue and they are not an entitlement.
If your company does encourage flex work, it can be a great thing but make sure: It is on your terms, it is the right business decision at the right time for your organization and is executed as such.
- Decide in advance how you will measure business performance
- Where and when you expect the work to be done
- How you want your business represented in these arrangements
- Always reserve the right to revise your policies. After all, it could hit the front page of the paper if you upset your employees.
When the automobile was first invented it was a free for all, there was no speed limit, no road signs or traffic violations but the time came to add some rules and limits for everyone’s protection. The time has arrived to do the same with flex work.
Inspired HR Leans In………
Debby Carreau, our CEO and Founder is thrilled to be a Master Moderator for Lean In. Through her board role with Young President’s Organization she is Leaning In to the launch as a platform partner.
Inspired HR is helping set up Lean In Circles in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver this spring.
Circles are small groups that meet monthly to share and learn together. Our Circles meet ten times a year, starting with a Kickoff Meeting and then alternating between what we call Education Meetings and Exploration Meetings.
Successful peer groups commit to confidentiality, open and honest communication and active participation. Our Lean In Circles will have a strong foundation for developing the relationships and trust to encourage and support each other. And that is what’s important.
No judgments or advice, just personal experiences and thoughtful conversations about meaningful topics.
If you are interested in joining one of our circles please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us why you are interested in joining a Lean In circle.
Alberta has one of the most productive and innovative business sectors in the world, so why is it so far behind in terms of board diversity?
As two professionals who advise corporate leaders on board governance, best practices, and risk mitigation, we would argue that the majority of our corporate colleagues are largely unaware of this province’s low diversity ranking, and of research that links board diversity with higher returns on equity, lower debt, higher stock valuations, and higher growth. In our experience, the under-representation of women in Alberta boardrooms is symptomatic of some outdated thinking about what makes a great board member, and what great boards need to do. And that thinking is not unique to Alberta.
For many, a gender focus still connotes quotas at the expense of quality, a notion that will never fly in most corporate circles
Traditionally, board members and recruiters have favoured nominees with direct CEO/CFO experience — or with skills gained along conventional corporate career paths. They may want to elect more women to their boards, but can’t find enough of them with that traditional, and fairly limited, skills set.
But a change is coming: progressive companies are recruiting outside of their networks and searching for directors with sector-specific knowledge and a stronger consumer orientation. By targeting a different talent base, these companies are enlarging the ranks of qualified women on boards while maintaining a focus on quality. Others are creating advisory boards featuring diverse ages and social backgrounds. Both approaches are helping companies avoid “group think,” promote innovation, and build more globally competitive companies.
To go beyond conventional wisdom surrounding talent, many companies also need to enlarge their thinking about effective board governance. More than managing financial risk, boards need to be aware of the broader organizational and strategic issues that put many companies at risk for underperformance at one end, and takeover and layoffs at the other. By and large, these risk are mitigated when corporate leaders gain knowledge from a diverse pool of talent that can challenge traditional thinking, and reflect the viewpoints of a variety of stakeholders, especially customers and shareholders.
But perhaps the biggest reason Alberta lags in board diversity is because of the language we use to promote it. For many, a gender focus still connotes quotas at the expense of quality, a notion that will never fly in most corporate circles, especially Alberta’s. Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing a lukewarm response.
To our colleagues in women’s board-focused professional groups we offer this: if we want to see more women on boards, we need to lead with the talent argument and let gender diversity be the outcome, not the goal.
And to our business colleagues in Alberta, we encourage you to let go of the traditional thinking around board directorships and governance because it will hold us back from even greater gains in the long term. While we enjoy one of the most robust economies in the world, we could lose that leadership position if we don’t take the diversity imperative seriously. Better corporate performance through diversity of talent is the innovation the new millennium economy demands.
—Debby Carreau, MBA, is CEO of Inspired HR and an expert in maximizing human capital. Beth Reimer-Heck, QC, is Counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP who has spent 25 years as a corporate commercial lawyer counseling clients on board governance and risk management.