Independence Day Lessons: France vs. America vs. The Boardroom

After the French lost the Seven Years’ War against Great Britain in 1763, they didn’t consider the transcontinental battle to be over. When British colonies in North America gradually began to revolt, the French were quick to lend a helping hand to the opposition.

In fact, France continued to supply American revolutionaries with troops and materials in support of the war until Congress declared the colonies independent on July 4, 1776. Then, France and the newly founded United States formed an official alliance, vowing to fight side by side until the United States received its hard fought freedom.

Just six years after the Americans and British completed their peace negotiations in Paris, a French revolution broke out. In July 1789, the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a fortress known to house political prisoners on royal indictments that could not be appealed.

Although it would still be a long and bloody road before France had complete independence, Bastille Day marks the French people’s strongest step in the fight against absolutism.

Today, the French celebrate their independence on July 14th in recognition of their evolution to a democratic nation. Although in time France and the United States have not always seen eye-to-eye, the two countries have, at least, a shared history of independence.

This July, it’s important to remember the importance we all place on freedom.

In fact, the appreciation for freedom and independence is not just at the macro economic level. Nations are not alone.

Individuals in their workplace also look for independence, which accounts for the many developments in FLEX scheduling and creative management techniques of law firms and businesses. A recent study by Catalyst confirms in a survey of 726 MBA graduates around the world that flexible working arrangements are no longer the exception, but they are the norm.

Of the 726 high-potential employees in full-time for-profit and non-profit firms, 81 percent reported that they had flexible work arrangement policies, whether that be flexible arrival or departure times, compressed work weeks, telecommuting, or job sharing schemes. And, surprisingly, women and men took part, equally, of these flexible options (although women prefer telecommuting, in particular, to men)

According to Catalyst (via Harvard Business Review Blog), “The Great Debate: Flexibility vs. Face Time-Busting the Myths Behind Flexible Work Arrangements,” the research results imply that eliminating flexible work arrangement benefits significantly affects the number of high potential women at your workplace aspiring to senior positions. However, in light of the fact that men and women participate in these programs equally, your firm may be missing out on high-potential employees of both genders.

Sure, studies are mixed about the impact of flexible scheduling on productivity. But, if your firm is able to attract the best talent by offering these benefits, surely high-value employees are consistently productive in the first place.

It’s time to make your employees happy or a revolution will be on your hands.

This July, red, white, and blue means freedom for both the French and Americans. Let the same colors remind your firm to continue this tradition everyday in its workplace.

To learn how, read C4CM’s 69-page guide Creating a Flexible Workplace,” a powerful how-to resource on developing a workforce flexibility initiative that not only helps your employees manage their work and personal responsibilities effectively, but also boosts productivity and your company’s performance.

Some of its guidance includes how to:

  • Lower costs associated with employee absenteeism
  • Improve staff retention and recruitment efforts
  • Maximize employee productivity and performance
  • Improve quality and effectiveness of employee work and personal lives
  • Decrease health care utilization costs
  • Reduce organizational facilities’ costs
  • Enhance reputation as an employer of choice

-WB

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