BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

How to Move Your Stock Price Up

Posted by gansie on April 16, 2009

With the largest number of people unemployed–13.2 million–in our country’s history, this recession is reshaping how Americans view and value their careers.

This is not the time, however, to eliminate or slow the progress that has been made in creating successful workplaces. Employers and employees must continue to re-evaluate outdated work policies and the benefits of flexible work arrangements. After all, does “9-to-5” really make sense with women making up 48 percent of the labor force and still no national answer to childcare?  

stocksareupFlexible work schedules need to be viewed as a positive and productive approach to 21st century workplaces, not simply an accommodation for a few.

It seems, though, that at least the stock market is starting to agree. In a Harvard Business Review article, Freek Vermeulen cites a study done by Professor Michelle Arthur, from the University of New Mexico that measures the stock market’s attitude toward Fortune 500 companies’ announcement of work-life programs.

The findings show that there is a 4.8% positive swing when this type of news is released. For perspective, there was a slightly negative response (-0.35%) back in the 1980s.

Vermeulen reiterates the business case for these employee friendly programs:

If you’re a $5 billion company, it means that even one such initiative could increase the value of your firm by 24 million. That’s a lot of peanuts. And a lot of share-holder value.

I’ve long thought that, for example, an investment bank that could come up with a formula allowing people to have a real career without working 70 hours or even 5 days per week should be able to turn that into a material competitive advantage. It actually doesn’t seem that hard to do. But macho culture and self-delusion – and not much else – seems to always stand in the way of developing such a practice. What Professor Arthur’s study suggests is that such firms are simply stuck in the 1980s; nowadays even the stock market recognizes the sheer monetary value of work-family initiatives.

Unfortunately, some employees are not taking advantage of these workplace programs that promote balance due to rising unemployment. Low participation is a sure path for programs to be eliminated.

Washington Post financial reporter Annys Shin wrote, “According to workplace consultants, human resources specialists and employees themselves…More workers are giving up those [flexible] arrangements, or resisting asking about them in the first place, out of fears that doing so will make them appear less committed to their work and therefore more expendable.

We must end this back-pedaling on work-life balance.

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation has long fought for every worker to have the flexibility needed to fulfill both career ambitions and life goals. Whether you need to take off early to care for a sick relative or you want to further your education, every employee should be valued based on their productivity.

Providing flexibility allows employees to also tend to family commitments or personal aspirations and will make them happier, more productive workers, all of which will help the corporate bottom line. This point is validated by Arthur’s study- just the mention of the program boosts company revenue.

But employees must do their part as well. Just because the country is facing tough times does not mean we should turn our backs on the progress we’ve made in balancing work and life. If anything we need to sustain it; a happy, non-stressed worker is a healthy, hard-working employee.

If supporting workplace flexibility programs is important to you, consider making a donation to BPW Foundation. Your contribution will aid in the fight to sustain successful workplaces, to ensure that employers cannot take away a worker’s right to lead both a full professional and personal life and that employees take advantage of these important programs.

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7 Responses to “How to Move Your Stock Price Up”

  1. Joyinhome said

    Love, love, love this post! There are companies that have the attitude that “It’s a recession, I can take advantage of you.” What’s worse, is there are too many employees who don’t get why sucessful workplaces is vital to rebuilding this economy!

  2. […] How to Move Your Stock Price Up (Young Women Misbehavin’) […]

  3. I agree with you, in order to move our workplaces into the 21st century we must have flexible workplaces. It’s great to hear about the monetary advantages which flexibility is providing for organizations; however, there are many other advantages as well. For example, I believe it can be an advantage for businesses in attracting and retaining talent. Many people are searching for jobs which will offer them flexibility. By offering flexibility, organizations are giving themselves an opportunity to tap into a larger talent pool. From the viewpoint of a family, flexibility seems completely necessary. It is no longer practical for most American families to have one parent working and another staying home with the children, yet this is the system our laws and consequently our workplace policies seem to favor. In the Family Policy Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis, we believe that it is necessary to provide men and women with workplace policies which are personal, voluntary, portable, flexible and fair.

  4. […] Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation learned some tips to creating successful workplaces for both employers and their employees. Well, there are actually quite a few, but at least we know these efforts are worth it and it seems that the stock market is starting to agree. […]

  5. […] Comments Huffington Post: BPW… on How to Move Your Stock Price…Philippa Chapman on Women Finally Getting a Front…zhak39 on Misbehavin’ […]

  6. […] Comments Huffington Post: BPW… on How to Move Your Stock Price…Huffington Post: BPW… on How to Move Your Stock Price…Philippa Chapman on Women […]

  7. […] Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation learned some tips to creating successful workplaces for both employers and their employees. Well, there are actually quite a few, but at least we know these efforts are worth it and it seems that the stock market is starting to agree. […]

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