A panel discussion moderated by Janet Lenaghan, vice dean and professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, recently examined the efforts of employers to build support environments that enhance productivity and support a healthy work-life balance.
The discussion was part of a Debate 2016 speaker series aimed at educating students about a wide range of issues ahead of Hofstra hosting the first presidential debate of the general election cycle. Lenaghan noted that technology has dramatically changed work life. The “acceptance of global collaboration tools, … allow for a boundary-less workforce and challenge organizations to constantly re-think the nature of work,” she said.
Anthony Dalessio, managing partner at KPMG LLP on Long Island and a Zarb alumnus emphasized the importance of women business leaders. KMPG’s goal is to be the “employer of choice” by nurturing a work/life balance, improving diversity, and enhancing aspects of technology and digital mobility, he said, adding that the firm aims to cultivate a work environment based on the needs of their growing population of Generation X employees. KPMG also surveyed millennials, which showed that the future of the workplace allows for more work-from-home options and incubator projects.
Flexible schedules and collaboration also help efforts with hiring and retaining valued employees. Kathleen Gallo, senior vice president and chief learning officer at Northwell Health and dean and professor at Hofstra’s Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, said this is especially important in the health care industry. “At Northwell, skills and competency are second to company values when it comes to selecting a candidate,” Gallo said “The workspace must facilitate the development of teams that work together for the common goal of the company.”
Richard Hayes, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, outlined the framework of today’s business environment. He explained that it is important for “individuals to cultivate their strengths in combination with their passions in order to achieve a career that best fits their individual needs.”
Debra Sandler, Zarb alumna and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, explained that employees become more autonomous as they climb the corporate ladder, and noted that there is linear relationship between ethnic diversity and financial performance.
“If men and women are started at equal pay for equal work, the issue of pay equity would cease to exist and thus improve the interworking of businesses,” said Sandler, who is president and CEO of La Grenade Group LLC, a privately held consulting firm with a focus on marketing innovation and overall business development. “With improvements in the presence of women and diversity in leadership positions, the employee/employer relationship is better balanced and allows for transparency and a dedication to social responsibility.”
Age diversity was the focus on Comila Shahani-Denning discussion about generational differences in the workplace. Shahani-Denning, professor of psychology at Hofstra’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, also is director of the industrial/organizational psychology master’s program.
“Baby boomers prefer traditional business interactions with co-workers and customers. Millenials tend to work more for personal fulfillment,” she said “Generation Z is eager to practice in a more technology-based work environment and want a fusion of work/life balance in order to better maximize time.” Shahani-Denning pointed out the importance of of intergenerational understanding for business growth. “Traditional corporate workers struggle to understand the freelance worker,” she said “Shared values across the board would optimize the impact on employer/employee relations as well as the effect on the overall advancement of the workforce.”