I look on this as a sign of the changing times. Starting in January 2012, the Center for Work-Life Policy will be going by a new name: the Center for Talent Innovation. Its flagship project, the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force, will also now be known as the Task Force for Talent Innovation. (Here’s the full name-change announcement.)
You might not think this is significant, but I do.
When I came on board as Human Resource Executive®’s managing editor in 2000, work/life balance probably topped the buzzword list. Employers, it seemed, were just starting to take this conundrum seriously — parents, namely moms, whose full potential as productive and often top-talented employees was being compromised by the more uncompromising 40-plus-hour, office-bound workweeks.
Now, I take this switch to suggest we’ve graduated to a more inclusive concern about the talents of both genders. Working dads are just as compromised as working moms, I’m thinking the thinking goes.
The Center describes its reason for the name change as twofold: “to drive groundbreaking research that leverages talent across the divides of gender, generation, geography and culture; and to create a community of senior executives united by an understanding that full utilization of the global talent pool is at the heart of competitive success.”
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founding president of the Center, says her organization “is deepening its scope and reach; these last two years, we have ‘gone global.’ ”
She also says the name changes “are driven by enormous growth in the span, scope and stature of the organization. Eight years ago,” she says, “the CWLP was a small, U.S.-based nonprofit centered on women’s retention and acceleration issues.
“Today, it’s a global think tank with representatives in San Francisco, London and Mumbai, and projects in Brazil, China, India and Japan. … Men are newly center-stage in our work. When we look at ‘the X Factor’ — 33-to-46-year-olds — or ‘Asians in America,’ we focus as much on men as women.”
I’m fine with heading in new directions. I’m fine with the notion that concern for women has graduated into a much larger concern for the full realization and utilization of talent overall. I get it that we’re all on a global stage now.
I just hope no one is lured into thinking that that old “conundrum” of the late 1900s and early 2000s — that women leave careers more than men out of concern for their children and that workplace fexibility still isn’t flexible enough for them to reach their full potential and still give their children the lives they deserve — has really been solved.