Business Case 2 - Limitations

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Activity Description: 

Purpose:

To develop students’ capacities to gauge and critique the “business case” for work-family responsive practices. Note - this exercise presents an alternative paper assignment to the teaching activity Business Case 1. This assignment is intended to make students understand the strengths and limitations of the business case to legitimate family responsive workplace practices.

Steps:

  1. Have students review the topics page “Return on Investment” on the Sloan Work and Family Research Network to help orient them to the concepts “returns on investment” and “dual agendas” as well as “the business case” perspective
  2. Have students identify one workplace practice or public policy that would address a specific work-life issue of their own choosing. To guide their selection, suggest that they identify a practice or policy that appear on the list of “Topics Pages” or in the “Work and Family Encyclopedia” at the Sloan Work-Family Research Network.
  3. Provide the following instructions to students:
Review the series of workplace flexibility case studies listed on The Sloan Work and Family Research Network. Select a case study that you see as especially promising, one that could offer a model to promote family friendly work environments.  Using the resources provided on the Sloan Work and Family Research Network, perform review of the policy enacted (e.g., flex-time, flex-space, breastfeeding facilities, paid family leave, corporate sponsored daycare, etc.).  In your paper, address the following issues:
A. Employer Based Strategies:
Describe a type of work-family policy or practice that employers could implement to alleviate a work-family tension and how that policy may make “business sense.”  In your presentation describe how other employers have crafted these policies and practices and the impact it has had on work outcomes such as performance, retention, and recruitment.
B. Application 1
Consider if a business case can be made for implementing this policy for all workers (or a subset -and explain why only a subset) here at your college.  What would be involved to make it happen and what would the impact be on such a return on investment?  Consider the logistics of how that option might be implemented, the expenses that would likely be involved, and the cost savings or increased profits that might be expected.   For example, if the college was to provide onsite day care, how much would it cost to establish and run such a center?  How many employees would be serviced? And ultimately what would the result be in terms of enrollment, staff retention, recruitment of talent, etc.?  If this information is not available, then you can ballpark the figures.  Can you establish a business case? 
C. Application 2
Consider if a business case can be made for implementing this policy for all workers (or a subset -and explain why only a subset) at McDonalds.  What would be involved to make it happen and what would the impact be on such a return on investment? Consider the logistics of how that option might be implemented, the expenses that would likely be involved, and the cost savings or increased profits that might be expected.   For example, if McDonalds was to provide onsite day care, how much would it cost to establish and run such a center?  How many employees would be serviced? And ultimately what would the result be in terms of productivity, worker retention, recruitment of talent, etc.?  If this information is not available, then you can ballpark the figures.  Can you establish a business case? 
D.  Summary
Offer a summary reflection on the business case for the policy reviewed.  Does it make business sense for all employers to be family responsive in their practices?  If so, consider why many employers have not implemented these policies and practicies.  If not, consider what would be needed to bridge the gap so that all workers labor in family responsive work environments.
Activity Source: 

Content developed by the Sloan Work and Family Teaching Task Force