Levensaler: Care isn’t just a benefit, it’s a return on investment. To drive growth and productivity in your organization, you need the participation of a diverse workforce. Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve structured work—the roles, hours, and infrastructure—around one gender. So, we see a drop in participation from women during the childbearing and childrearing years. And when they’re ready to re-enter the workplace, it’s can be quite challenging for families.
At the same time, we also have an aging workforce with people who want to stay connected and engaged in a work context. Care is needed across the board. According to government statistics, the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to nearly double to 72.1 million by 2030. How will these people engage as workers with our companies? What kind of accommodations are we going to make?
Marcelo: Care and work are codependent. You need great care to work, and you need to work to pay for great care. We invest so much in building up our economy through infrastructure and other necessities, but the investment in providing care, which really allows us to drive job growth, is lacking. It’s impacting our society, and for companies, it’s impacting their workforces and productivity. Millennials are having children earlier, Boomers are dealing with senior care issues, and absenteeism is on the rise. We introduced Care@Work, because to be competitive, you must invest in the humanity side.
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and advocate of sustainable capitalism, got it right when he posed the question, “Do you run this for society or not? The real purpose of business has always been to come up with solutions that are relevant to society, to make society better.” If we don’t have a healthy society, how can businesses continue to grow? As leaders, we need to think about the things we can do for our employees and the impact they’ll have on society.