New York Times - Economix: Workplace Flexibility and the Bottom Line
For several years now, many women’s advocates have been pushing hard for more workplace flexibility to help workers — not just women, but also men — have an easier time juggling work and family responsibilities. But to some people, the whole notion of workplace flexibility — paid maternity leaves, more flexible schedules, telecommuting — is nice-sounding mumbo-jumbo that might makes employees feel good, but doesn’t translate into dollars and cents on the bottom line.
On Saturday, I had an article reporting how the nation’s accounting firms have led the way in providing their employees with greater flexibility, largely as a way to reduce costly turnover. Several work force experts and many accounting executives I interviewed said flexibility did indeed help the bottom line.
My article quoted Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, saying, “The nation’s accounting firms excel at this for a boring, accounting reason — they’ve looked at the numbers, and they see it helps.” Jennifer Allyn, managing director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ office of diversity, notes that stepped-up flexibility policies have helped cut turnover to 15 percent a year, from 24 percent.
The article adds, “Firms estimate that the cost of hiring and training a new employee can be 1.5 times a departing worker’s salary, so reducing turnover by 200 employees could mean $30 million in savings.” Sharon Allen, Deloitte’s chairwoman, said her firm’s flexibility policies saved more than $45 million a year by reducing turnover. ...