As a result of the economic crisis, in many companies, the ambitious vision of people management focused on the attraction and retention of talent to boost business success and the important role of work-life balance either grounded to a halt or fell into oblivion.
In 2015, it would seem that work-life balance, in a number of companies, has once again flourished due to the recovering work market and the war for talent.
Work-life balance as an antidote to the flight of talent
The importance of work-life balance is undeniable if we are to ensure the loyalty of employees, as is demonstrated in a number of studies. One example is the interesting report on talent retention (Deloitte, 2013), which identifies work-life balance as the second cause of voluntary redundancy due to the poor leadership styles of employees’ direct managers (See Table).
A few days ago I attended a very interesting forum organized by Compensa Capital Humano and the Alares Foundation in which we discussed the strategic role of work-life balance must play in the framework of professionalized people management in the imminent economic recovery.
I was pleased to see a renewed interest of the Spanish market in this issue which I consider to be essential. I believe that few organizations have as yet made the most of work-life balance, with a win-win focus to support business and productivity results and flexibility for workers.
Currently, priorities are still very much with WLB measures focused mainly on the flexibility and management of working time, but they are insufficiently related with deeper issues such as the improvement of productivity and business results, the efficient use of technology, intangible (non-economic) compensation, cultural change management or adequate management of the expectations of the different generations of employees peopling our organizations.
This new approach is necessary in order to position work-life balance as a strategic element of people management and should become a focus of attention in the coming years.
In such a context, I have selected 10 interesting reflections on work-life balance by three speakers at the aforementioned event:
Javier Benavente, President of the Alares Foundation
1. Work-life balance will help professionals to come and stay and to be motivated in a context in which 800,000 employees, in Spain, wish to change companies as a result of the incipient recovery
2. 93% consumers would buy assets/services of socially responsible companies.
3. 73% of consumers believe that companies do not sufficiently reinvest in society.
Enrique Arce, Director of Compensa Capital Humano
4. We must wisely apply work-life balance measures and with a win-win focus between employees and companies.
5. Middle management is a key factor in successful work-life balance management
6. Work-life balance must be well managed and personalized to make it efficient and effective
7. Work-life balance is a key factor in attracting and retaining talent and is perceived by employees in terms of up to 30%/40% of their salary.
8. We should not forget that business results will pay for the work-life balance measures and that synergies should be sought.
9. Employee value propositions must be personal, competitive, well communicated, encouraged, valued and aligned with business goals.
Carlos Delgado. President of Compensa Capital Humano
10. Talent management is an individual achievement. A “one size fits all” approach is no longer valid for good people management policies.
Benefits of work-life balance
Such considerations demonstrate the significant benefits of work-life balance for companies and employees, as has been shown in numerous studies.
Source: “The policies of the work-life balance from the perspective of the employer.”
Rocío Albert, Lorenzo Escot, José A. Fernández and Mª Teresa Palomo (Complutense University, Madrid)
Work-life balance measures for improving business results and attracting and retaining employees
The best companies are committing to a series of specific measures to strengthen their image as employers, productivity and work flexibility.
The Más Familia Foundation, an institution that grants FRC (family-responsible company) certificates has carried out in-depth research into the most common and successful marketplace policies, as is shown below.
Source: “Ranking of the 20 main work-life balance measures “. Más Familia Foundation
I believe that work-life balance can be a strong competitive advantage both in the present and in the future for organizations that are strategically committed to it, and as a response to the complex economic and social context of the coming years.
Leading specialists indicate that the world’s main economies are not expected to provide widespread increases in salaries and, therefore, companies will have to be more creative in the ways they attract and retain employees through other intangible, non-economic factors. In such a scenario, work-life balance must play a crucial role, with a win-win company-employee focus, boosting business results and adapting work-life balance to the organizational culture and diversity of employee profiles and interests.