Monday, February 14, 2011

Family-Friendly, Education and Creating the Future Success of Your Business

The Minneapolis branch of the Federal Reserve studied the impact of investing in early childhood education. They found that for every invested dollar the person and the society get a return that's 4:1 at a minimum and 16:1 according to one study. What does this mean for businesses?

1) Review your policies to make sure they don't put a burden on child caregivers--parents and, increasingly these days of troubled families, grandparents. If they need to be home or at school for their kids, figure out how to let them. The early years are the most important. (See the Open Letter page on this blog.)

2) Support educational system improvements in your community(ies). Remember the kids in the program are going to be your employees in a few years. You want to make sure they are as prepared as they can be.

3) Help out the schools when you can in tangible and intangible ways. Encourage your employees to volunteer either directly or through programs like Junior Achievement. Bringing other adults into the classroom is helpful. Programs like JA provide kids the exposure to the connection that what their studying will actually be useful to them when they start working. It's been shown by groups like Search Institute that an asset for kids to avoid risky behaviors later on is to have another adult (outside of their parents) who is interested in their welfare. Your employees, making some connections, while volunteering in the school library or classroom could be a connection for one kid that needs a little "leg up" in life.

Knowing their kids have a better chance at success, perhaps even reducing "acting out" in risky behaviors, your employees will be more focused at work. None of us is perfect at compartmentalizing, keeping family issues at bay when we're at work. If we're missing an important event in our child's life, it weighs on us. It sets up poorer family dynamics. Let your employees be whole knowing their taking care of their family. They'll also take care of your business in the same way. Your business will be more and in the future, as you create a strong basis for your workforce today and for the years ahead.

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