Business leaders seeking to build a competitive workforce face countless reasons in favor of providing on-site child care. Most agree that supporting healthy, balanced families and growing the ranks of women in leadership is the right thing to do. Despite the obvious benefits, however, the cost of child-care programs dominates discussions in the boardroom and C suite, where leaders often assume their companies just can’t afford such a luxury.
Wrong. Onsite child care isn’t a luxury; it’s an engine for business growth. That’s the clear conclusion of an ambitious new report released this week by IFC, which shows in concrete detail how onsite child care benefits the bottom-line – boosting productivity, enhancing recruitment and retention, improving gender diversity, creating jobs, and even unlocking access to higher-value markets over time. By profiling 10 companies around the world that offer various child care options, the report provides practical examples and analysis that highlights how investments in child care can strengthen any business.
The report validates everything we’ve learned at Patagonia, where our on-site child care program generates returns of up to 125 percent – not to mention creating a workforce of happy employees who reward the company with loyalty and hard work for allowing their kids to come to work. We enjoy both the sounds of children learning and playing on our campus, as well as 50/50 gender diversity at all levels of the company, including our most senior positions.
But don’t take my word for it. Tackling Childcare provides a raft of figures that highlight how child care in the workplace creates significant financial benefits for a wide variety of companies, the broader economy, female and male employees alike, and, of course, children. It’s my hope that leaders of all types of businesses will pay attention to this new evidence and seriously consider the recommendations provided in the report, which provide plenty of room for executives to develop customized child care programs that work for each individual business.
It’s time for a new conversation about employer-sponsored child care. If we give women and families the tools to thrive at work, we will reap the business benefits, grow our economy and create stronger communities all at the same time.
This article first appeared here and is reproduced with permission.