Synchronizing Companies With the Real World

One of the major challenges faced by professionals around the world, both men and women, is companies’ lack of synchronization with technological and social realities. Women suffer in particular. Consequences can be found in all areas of our lives. There are not just serious social consequences, but also consequences for organizations, although many seem oblivious to this. Perhaps because of this, companies are lagging behind; politicians maybe even more so.

International Women's Day
Courtesy of Kai Stachowiak. CC0 Public Domain.

An example: in 2017, some countries are beginning to promote the “blind résumé”, one that conceals the identity of the candidate to avoid possible gender discrimination.

What is the point of these debates when between70 and 88% of selection professionals admit to using social networks in the process? Anonymity is no longer possible, nor desirable. Political leaders: we are behind the times. We have not understood the real problem, so the solution is worthless.

We know we live in a globalized world. We need to have a 24/7 response capability, 365 days a year. The technology permits it; we have smartphones that facilitate it. The unions in some countries demand that we are paid “extra” hours when it is required, or expected, that people respond to these requirements. Once again: we are behind the times. This concept of “overtime” is also out-dated.

The reality is that a large part of the work we do in a company does not require our physical presence or even time synchronization. However, we keep asking people to have a fixed schedule in a specific place whilst at the same time demanding they maintain the necessary flexibility to respond to the aforementioned global environment.

Companies still do not understand Corporate Family Responsibility: flexible environments that foster the necessary flexibility for people to respond to the requirements of their position as well as to those of other spheres of life – family, social, and personal.

In technological companies (what a coincidence, right?) like Siemens, Xerox, HP or Google to name but a few, women are managing to evolve professionally, but this is not so in other sectors where in most cases women occupy the majority of the entry-level positions, but disappear in management (banking, law, consulting…)

What’s going on? Why do they fall by the wayside? Among other reasons, because with ever-later maternity the children are small at precisely the time when the greatest demand falls on the worker. Women are the main losers here.

Why should a director or a manager be obliged to work rigid, long and often unproductive days? Spain is a case in point: the longest working day in Europe, the people who sleep least on the continent and the least productive employees.

Companies still live with the inertia of the analogue world. I think they should make the leap to flexible structures to facilitate life for both men and women, so that each one can develop every part of their lives. The company will benefit and our society will become more human.

About Mireia Las Heras

Mireia is an Assistant Professor at IESE Business School where she serves as the Research Director of the International Center for Work and Family. She got her degree on Industrial Engineering at the Polytechnic School of Catalonia, specializing on Industrial Organization, in Barcelona-Spain, and holds an MBA from IESE Business School, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Boston University.

One thought on “Synchronizing Companies With the Real World

  1. Mireia, I am completely agree with your views on this lacking part. Infact I have seen and experience the same many times. The most common lacking part is “Technological Adaption” and this is one of the major factor affecting the growth of the business. Lets for example, using social media for branding! I strongly recommend brands to have active presence at social media to connect with target audiences.

    What do you think?

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