When employers commit to work/life balance programs, they reap many benefits: productivity increases, absenteeism drops, and the perception of their organization’s brand goes up—an edge when it comes to recruiting top talent. However, because work/life balance is the latest, hottest employee benefit, many employers are cobbling together programs that are doomed before they even start, often resulting in disappointment for both employer and employees. Here are three of the most common missteps and how to avoid them:
1. Creating a program without employee input. Work/life balance typically meansflexibility. It may mean flexibility in hours worked, flexibility in place of work (home or office) or a combination of the two.
Getting it right: A thorough survey of what employees want regarding work/life balance is the best starting point for building an effective program. Share the results of that survey with all employees and show how those results will further inform the collaborative process. In addition, set up channels for ongoing employee feedback to uncover and prioritize emerging issues and answer any concerns as they occur.
2. Failing to examinethe impact of rewards and recognitionprograms. It’s critical to re-examine themetrics of your rewards and recognition program. Are there some that would be unrelatable to employees who spend a fairamount of their time off-site, or impinge on the flexibility required to address unpredictable family needs? This can be especially tricky for organizations whose business models rely ontraditional forms of performance and productivity metrics.
Getting it right: Performa review of your rewards and recognitionprograms to gauge how they align with your currentbusiness needs, properly drive the associated behaviors and activitiesnecessary for success, and match up against the framework of yourintended work/life balance program. Where thereseems to be a disconnect or impairment, meet with managers and employees tocreate a alternative paths. And besure to communicate changes broadly and clearlyto help showcase the collaborative work and continuous improvement environment.
3. Committing onpaper but not in reality. It’s boundto happen: an employee is working at home but is suddenly called in to attendan unscheduled meeting. Or hours workingout-of-office are suddenly switched around due to a colleague’s illness orother disruption. Disappointment andcynicism about even the best-intentioned program can set in if these eventshappen too often.
Getting it right: Managersfrom c-suite to the manufacturing floor need to honor the commitment to theorganization’s work/life program to the greatest degree possible. Implement aprocess for surfacing disruptions to the intent of the program and resolving asquickly as possible. Document benefits of the program (trends in productivity,lower absenteeism and better morale, for example) and communicate thoseregularly to management. Work/life programs often involve a shift inorganizational culture so persist, and don’t become discouraged, when bumps inthe road occur.
A carefully planned and executed work/life balance programis a strategic advantage. Far better to take the time to plan, set in place theprocesses for continuous improvement, be alert to internal or externaldisruptions that can affect your work-life program and take corrective actionas needed. The positive impact on your organization is well worth the effort.
Would you like to seehow your rewards and recognition program can complement work/life balanceinitiatives? Contact a Marketing Innovations solutions expert to start a discussion today.