In conversation…with EMPREPAS

by | Jul 9, 2024 | All, Gender Equality, Work-Life Balance/Integration | 0 comments


During our visit to the United Nations we met Kalena de Velado, president and founder of Emprepas, a foundation in El Salvador whose aim is to support companies in achieving a work-life balance. They base their collaboration on leadership strategies and on creating a company culture. She says that, from a corporate social responsibility point of view, “the main and most important stakeholder of a company is the worker and his or her family.”

Home Renaissance Foundation Blog

Angela de Miguel-Director of Communication Human renaissance Foundations.

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“Happy employees, sustainable companies”. What is behind your motto?"

Kalena (K): Behind our motto there is a strategic mission that consists of ensuring that the management of companies is focused on the whole person, so that the employee works happily and the company manages to attract, retain and promote talent. One of the principles of human thought widely accepted in all cultures throughout history is that people move and make decisions seeking to be happy. Therefore, we must find new ways to address old challenges of productivity and sustainability by focusing on building employee-healthy work environments, so that when employees feel happy they can then be better people, and better professionals, both in the company and in the family, as well as in society

In your attempt to bring together: business, civil society, government and academia, are you seeing results, are the parties trying to make a more balanced society in which home and family have their space?

K: In 2016 we did the first pilot project in ten companies and we realised that putting “family” and “work” in the same sentence generates unity among stakeholders because they feel called to contribute to the “Common Good.” This exercise resulted in a GUIDE ‘Towards Work-Family Balance’ with 33 good practices supporting employees’ life balance. This led to an increase in the productivity of these ten companies, and in turn, transformed the quality of life of more than 15,000 employees and indirectly of 55,800 members of their families. We witnessed how the private sector, its leaders and shareholders, and society’s leaders and representatives are committed to promote the well-being of families and prepared to carry out at least three of the concrete actions proposed in our guide.

The home is key to a person’s development and as they grow up they acquire a series of tools, attitudes, responsibilities and values that they will take with them to the company when they enter the world of work. What attitudes or skills do you think a person can take from the home to the company to add value?

K: The trend in the future of employment points to soft skills. Analytical thinking and creative thinking remain the most important skills for workers in 2024, but immediately after are the characteristics of resilience, flexibility and agility; motivation and self-awareness. The top ten core skills are rounded out by several attitudes needed in working with others: empathy and active listening and leadership and social influence. The most relevant academic studies recognise that these qualities are learned by children at home, specifically at mealtimes together, and as a family.
If we take a broader analysis, it could be noted that the set of soft skills are particularly characteristic of female leadership. Perhaps for this reason, and according to a report by experts from the World Economic Forum, The Future of Work 2023 Report, the map for attracting and retaining workers that most companies will prioritise in the coming years will be made up of women (79%), young people under 25 (68%) and people with disabilities (51%).

So, the household plays a big role in preparing talent early on for the Common Good, and certainly for performance in companies, does the company bring that talent back to the household?

K: Before COVID, our challenge in companies was to facilitate the integration of life, work and family, and we seemed to be moving slowly, as we were not connecting with the happiness and effective and sustainable productivity of workers. But during the pandemic, we at EMPREPAS Foundation wanted to interview the CEOs of the top ten companies to establish their deep commitment to employee wellbeing. When asked “How do you return workers to their families at the end of the day? Do employees come back motivated and satisfied? Or frustrated, stressed, not wanting to play with their children or talk to their partner?” I perfectly remember the surprised look on the leaders’ faces and we discovered that an exciting and much more humane panorama was opening up for us to work on because after COVID the managers are much more sensitive to the quality of life of their employees.
Let us not forget, moreover, that facilitating a balance between life, work and family enables gender equality because it leads to a culture of co-responsibility, cooperation and equity, as well as fostering true inclusion and diversity. Men and women do not have to put aside their own characteristics to have equality but rather enhance them for their complementarity. This also helps to foster intergenerational wealth, which is good for everyone.

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