A majority of 100 CFOs interviewed in a recent study by Work+Life Fit, Inc and BDO Seidman, LLP, a national professional services firm, believe the business impacts of work life flexibility go beyond talent to workflow, cost savings and resource management. The 2008 Perspectives on Work Life Flexibility is the first study to specifically target CFO perspectives, professional and personal, on work life flexibility. Conducted by an independent research firm, the study is based on interviews with a random sample of 100 CFOs from companies with over 5,000 employees.
The good news: a majority of CFOs do look beyond the talent-related impacts of work life flexibility and see many, but not all, of the business benefits. The bad news: there is a wide gap between CFO awareness of the potential impacts of flexibility and the strategic action being taken inside of their organizations that would translate into business results.
How do we close that awareness-action gap? And what does it mean for how we manage work, direct our lives, and grow our businesses in today’s “always on,” “do more with less” global competitive work reality? Over the next couple of weeks I will focus on specific implications of findings from the CFO Work Life Flexibility study, including:
• What opportunities are being missed because CFOs are least likely to recognize the business impacts of work life flexibility related to real estate cost savings and client service enhancement;
• Why having only 39% of CFOs work for organizations with a formal approach to work life flexibility will seriously hinder achieving bottom line benefits;
• Why the strategic impact of work life flexibility will be limited if over 60% of senior leaders in organizations with a formal approach to work life flexibility think it is an “HR perk;” and
• Where should the responsibility for and the championship of flexibility reside if a majority of CFOs believe direct business line involvement is critical to success, and HR can’t be the only sponsor of flexibility.
Bottom line: If CFOs “get” the broad business benefits of work life flexibility, what does that mean for how we talk about, position and execute work life flexibility inside of organizations in order to effectively translate that awareness into action-based results? What do you think?