The conference Who wins the future – Family-friendly companies and territories was held in the Nando Rocco Hall of Palazzo della Borsa Merci in Naples on Friday 20 October. Organized by ELFAC and the Italian Large Families Association (ANFN), in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Naples, the event presented the reality of the partnership experience with “family-friendly” companies initiated by the European Network of Family Friendly Municipalities.
The conference was an opportunity to address the family issue by applying it to the business world and local territories, which are starting to suffer from the effects of the demographic crisis, even in Campania. This was remembered by Alfredo Caltabiano, president of Italian Large Famílies Association, who drew attention to the demographic decline in Italy and the need to support families and children who are the country’s true wealth.
Following this, Regina Maroncelli, ELFAC president, underlined the importance of networks and networking with all the players in the area: municipalities, companies, families, institutions. The involvement of families, declared Maroncelli, is the key to the success of the Trentino certification experiences that the Association of Large Families in Italy and Ellfac in Europe are proposing to municipalities and districts.
Making communities attractive and sustainable is also the task of the third sector – recalled Pasquale Antonio Riccio, president of Progetto Alfa – with volunteering that can build a bridge and network with institutions and companies in order to help families in the name of path indicated by the sustainable development objectives of the UN Agenda 2030.
Explaining the mechanism and value of the “family” certification was Luciano Malfer, director of the Social Cohesion Agency of Trento, a city which also in 2023 finds itself at the top of the urban environment quality rankings. In 10 years of “family friendly” policies, Trentino families with three or more children have increased by 36% and now represent a higher percentage than those in France which also has an excellent birth rate. Malfer then highlighted the results obtained by businesses after having obtained the Family Audit, the certification of family welfare and gender equality provided by the Trentino Province: thanks to the flexibility and conciliation measures, productivity increases and absenteeism and sick days decrease.
In an Italy that is losing inhabitants (-180,000 units in 2022, despite the arrival of 120,000 Ukrainians, Campania (which represents 10% of the Italian population) is the Italian region that has lost the most, with a sharp minus 25,000 in the year. The figures of a real exodus were provided by Diodato Pirone, journalist and author of “The Cradle Trap” who moderated the event: “The people of Campania represent 10% of Italians. “It’s not just a question of of a quantitative decrease in births and a lack of attractiveness towards immigrants (who are only 4% of the entire regional population compared to 12.5% in Emilia) – added Pirone – Campania also records a strong recovery in youth emigration, i.e. many high school graduates and graduates. This means that this territory risks becoming a gigantic human reservoir of the most dynamic areas of the country.”
Making territories family-friendly and stemming the hemorrhage of young people is possible with interventions that make it more attractive territory, as Edi Cicchi, family councilor of the municipality of Perugia, testified, but also by involving companies which, not surprisingly, the Umbrian capital has rewarded for having undertaken “family-friendly” corporate policies. However, as Carla Librera, president of the women entrepreneurs AIDDA Campania, pointed out, the difficulty is for small and medium-sized businesses to find sustainable solutions to deal with the costs and organizational difficulties that arise in the event of maternity of employees in key sectors, where the replacement, even temporary, is very complicated. But the care of personal relationships and attention to the family needs of employees are recognized as fundamental elements for establishing a peaceful and well-being climate within companies as also testified by Katia Langella, mother and entrepreneur of the Langella industrial laundry in Pompeii.
Being able to create a shift calendar on a weekly basis taking into consideration all the personal needs of the workers represents a complicated and painstaking job, rewarded by the loyalty of the employees and the attractiveness of the company where, as the manager from Campania said with a smile, “everyone they would like to come to work.”
Talking about family and business, however, also means addressing the issue of family-run businesses, which constitute, as stated by the economist Alfredo De Massis in connection from the University of Bolzano, 90% of Italian businesses. The care of family relationships in this case becomes the basis for consolidating the company and allowing its own “survival” (and therefore the maintenance of jobs” even with the generational transition. Only 1/3 of family businesses, however, resists the transition to the second generation, only 14% reach the third generation. A “die” that requires a new corporate culture and an approach that still needs to be explored further in light of family relationships.
The day ended with speeches by the mayor of Roccabascena , municipality of Val Caudina which is undertaking the “family” certification process on which it is aiming for the relaunch of the territory, and Raul Sanchez, the Secretary General of ELFAC, who came from Barcelona to emphasize the importance of opening up to international collaboration “Today – said Sanchez – in the European Network there are already more than one hundred and fifty municipalities from nine European countries, which put people and families at the centre. With a new approach to services, urban planning, mobility and construction. With a great desire to learn from each other, sharing their good practices, initiatives and results; and learning at conferences, conferences and study visits. But the Network is above all a network that works by putting local municipalities, companies and institutions in contact with each other through various meeting points, with the idea of mutually enriching each other and therefore improving knowledge and their, and our, work.”
The long-awaited message that the Minister for Family, Birth and Equal Opportunities Eugenia Roccella sent to the conference “Who wins the Future: family-friendly territories and companies”, with particular support for large families, did not disappoint.
At the end of the event, Rosario Ferrara key manager of the Alexander study organization which was responsible for organizing the Conference announced the joining of 25 companies from Campania to the European Network as partners. A clear and strong signal of the desire to act on the local reality with an opening towards Europe, “focusing” on the most precious resource, the family.