Extended Family Cover Essay
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Survey respondents believe that women are not as “internationally mobile” as men, yet 80 percent of female expatriates have never turned down a relocation, compared to 71 percent of men. A second powerful assumption is that women encounter more work-life conflict while managing a global schedule. However, nearly half of both women and men report that they find work-life balance difficult. Finally, survey respondents believe clients outside the United States are not as comfortable doing business with women as they are with men.
In fact, 76 percent of women expatriates said being a woman had a positive or neutral impact on their effectiveness overseas. Both women and men, managers and human resources executives, hold the preconceptions that emerged in this study about women’s ability in the international arena. Yet paradoxically, 90 percent of female expatriates, 91 percent of women with global responsibility who haven’t relocated, and 93 percent of men married to expatriates said they would accept their current assignments again.
In fact, current expatriates (85 percent) and former expatriates (86 percent) believe global experience makes them more marketable to other companies. Compared in the past, companies at present become more open in having women as part of the workforce and consider them in equal footing as their male employees. Working Woman magazine cited Philip Morris as a company where 31 percent of all managers are women. With respect to international assignments, Philip Morris makes sure that women are tapped for those assignments. Another company, Hewlett-Packard, has a woman leading the company.
The chair, president, and CEO of Hewlett-Packard is Carly Fiorina. She makes Hewlett-Packard one of only two companies in the Fortune 500 with a woman as chair, president, and CEO. Hewlett-Packard, which has a strong international presence, has a long history of supporting and promoting women (Palagano & Lee, October 2005). The next items are the list of favorable companies that provide as much benefits to working mothers in their organization: Microsoft, Bacardi and Computer Associates all offer family healthcare benefits packages for partners and their children.
It helps to maintain high worker performance and establishing a caring reputation are the important motivating factors, as employers believe satisfied employees will spread the word about a company’s practices (“Extended Family Cover,” 2004). While BMW Plant Oxford, manufacturer of the Mini Cooper, presents different options of flexible, voluntary family benefits, that include insurance products, dental coverage and healthcare cash plans; workers have an option to devise their own benefits packages tailored to individual family needs.
BMW also offers family social events, it is one of their strategies to improve worker morale and performance, intensifying job engagement and encouraging better relationships among employees (“Extended Family Cover,” 2004). IBM provides its employees with schedule flexibility, extended personal leaves and dependent care referral services. Also, IBM has recognized the need to conduct training programs that sensitize its managers to the problems that employees may encounter as they try to balance family and job demands. (“Extended Family Cover,” 2004).
A pioneer in lactation support benefits, Procter and Gamble (P&G) has such programs at all its major worksites and in most of its production plants. This kind of strategy has helped maintain high morale and retention rates. It is also enhanced productivity and reduced absenteeism among female workers. Mothers schedule their own breaks in lactation rooms that have hospital-grade pumps, refrigerators for storing milk, curtained-off nursing stations for privacy and a supply of educational materials along with a registered nurse for onsite support (Callahan, 2005).
Aetna Inc. ‘s Mothers at Work program, which received a 100% satisfaction rating from participating nursing mothers, has lactation rooms in its 50 locations and an in-house Web site with information for breastfeeding mothers returning to work. Nursing mothers receive an individual pump and professional lactation consultation. In 2004, 62% of Aetna employees nursed for six months, as compared with the 27% national average of nursing mothers (Callahan, 2005).