Since when is abortion a conversation you’re supposed to be having at work—let alone as the leader of a team, a business unit or a whole corporation?
Abortion, just like most controversial topics, is intended for the quiet corners of your home and your personal life. These are private matters of personal conviction.
No one at your workplace cares about your views on abortion.
How do your personal views on this subject even dovetail into a workplace conversation, especially when you hold a prominent leadership position?
After all, you know what you think about it.
Don’t you? What do you believe? Have you even thought about it recently? Is anyone you know even thinking about getting pregnant anymore?
You don’t have to mix personal and professional.
Except you’re the leader. You’re responsible for the success of this enterprise. This organization. Half of your workforce is made up of women, increasingly of reproductive age.
Most of them—in fact, most of your workforce regardless of gender—wants you to care about them. Today’s employees and talent expect Corporate America, its leaders, to care about their well-being.
Your workforce wants you to show them that you see them as whole people with full lives outside of work—with families, partners, children, parents, friends, ambitions, dreams, goals, homes, hobbies, interests, health, vitality, hurdles, worries … the list continues.
How will the impending US Supreme Court decision poised to overturn Roe v. Wade impact how half of your employees—and their partners and children—work? How does the upcoming legislation affect their mental and emotional well-being and ability to fully contribute to their jobs today and tomorrow?
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, women in 23 states, almost half of the United States, will lose their reproductive rights overnight. There’s even talk of a national abortion ban.
How will this legislation shape where all those who identify as women choose to live, study, work and shop? Do you expect your talent pool, your consumers and your partners to stay invested in geographic locations that complicate their lives?
Ah, that’s personal.
Yes, it’s incredibly personal. It’s present for your people and in your organization whether or not it rings true for you. For many of your employees, abortion legislation is real, immediate and all-consuming.
Your job as a leader is to bring people together to get stuff done so all of you, together, contribute positively to the bottomline. You’re responsible for the P&L. You’re responsible for your people.
But abortion is different. That’s not my business.
And, in addition to expecting that you care about their well-being, today’s talent expects CEOs and corporate leaders in general to speak out on social and political issues.
Abortion and reproductive rights may never have factored heavily into your professional awareness. But, what affects your workforce affects your ability to lead and reach your business goals.
Okay, but I don’t even know where to begin.
You’ve done this before. You’ve had to hold many, sometimes disparate and conflicting, perspectives within your team and leadership, all while driving towards a common goal.
What do good leaders do? They hold the tension and space for what happens when your personal and professional views don’t always align.
Good leaders persevere with a leader’s point of view and voice, one that is inclusive of all the people you represent and one that upholds their ability to prosper.
Abortion legislation will impact your business. What will you choose to see? What will you choose to say? When? Where? How?
At the end of the day, you know that when women join the labor force, economies grow more. It’s good for business to have women at work.
You, corporate leader, are the voice for your people. You are the voice that moves the needle forward in creating an inclusive workplace and society where everyone can thrive.
The tides have changed: What’s good for people is now what’s good for business. When your talent suffers, so will your revenue and economic stability.
Let us hear you.