Tech & Work

Do family values = more productivity?

If a company offers an onsite daycare facility, does it increase expenses or productivity?

What if an organization provides paid sick day benefits? Is it just a nice benefit for the employees or will there be a payback for the organization as well?

The answers are clear now. And they're going to be even more clear in the coming years.

Some of you who read this blog know that I believe America's companies are full of people who are bored, underemployed, and always on the lookout for their next job. Partially as a consequence, turnover is very high in many industries. The outlook for improvement in employee retention isn't positive as more employees seek to shield themselves from becoming the next person affected by the expense-based decisions of managers above them.

In today's marketplace, for businesses operating in the western countries within the IT sector, it's often the case that the ones who have the best talent generally are the ones with the best growth, highest returns on shareholder investment, and greatest overall success in attaining stated goals. At, I see a lot of money spent by companies as they attempt to attract good talent. Headhunters often make between 20 and 50% of the new employee's salary, advertisements are run, contacts developed, and expense paid trips provided for new prospects (including their family often) to check out the new location. At the time, such decisions are usually justified by the hiring manager with comments about how the newbie will pay for herself or himself soon after coming onboard. And many do.

However, many don't.

When I'm with a client who is not performing at the hoped-for levels, we talk about what's going on in their life outside of work as well as on the job. I do this because I am convinced that nobody can perform at their highest level if they're worried about family or financial issues all day long. And, for many managers, the issues which I hear a lot about are those surrounding things such as day care, sick leave, paid vacations, commuting time, etc. These issues are often even more important than the great job they have or the better-than-average compensation they're paid.

Based on what they tell me, it's clear that:

1. People leave their employers because of these issues. This trend is increasing.

2. Even if they stay, their performance is reduced because of the stress they cause.

Great HR executives understood how to make the case to senior management that it's simply good business to deal with these issues sooner than later. They know this will free up the company's team to focus on doing what they were hired for in the first place. The best HR executives do make their case using ROI analyses which show the impact of turnover and the associated costs needed when replaceming strong employees. They use objective reports to help senior execs understand that all things do not need to be equal.

This is due, at least partially, to the fact that it usually makes good business sense to allow people to have different working hours/habits/time in the office as it's for their personal lives because of the improvement in productivity. And then, as a result of the education the senior execs then have, they start making decisions which are more enlightened. The execs take action to not only attract, but also retain, the best workers they can find. And, most of the time, their financial results soar as a consequence.

For those firms based in the western world today, a long term strategy cannot last if it's built on being faster or cheaper than those in Asia or South America. Talent is the key. That requires vision. And some guts. But the payoff won't take long to become visible.


Leadership Coach


John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

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