It was interesting to see that Worklife Balance has just tipped Salary as the number 1 factor that New Zealand professionals look for in a job. I saw this in a Stuff article about the findings of a 2014 Hudson survey.
For those of us in the ‘keeping people motivated area’ this is important stuff. We have traditionally been pushed by salary as the top motivator when negotiating with professionals. It is interesting to see the pendulum start to swing towards worklife balance.
I can remember working on implementing a massive flexible work project into a major bank. We did all the research on best practise, talked to senior managers and the executive team etc etc and came up with the following options:
- Job Sharing
- 9 day fortnight
- Flexible working hours
- Working from home
- Part-time options
We did a fantastic comms job on the options and launched them into the organisation.
Results were mixed.
- Job sharing never seemed to have a seamless handover – it’s success was only seen when participants actively communicated with each other about what had and had not been completed. Staff also reported frustrations about dealing with 2 people.
- 9 day fortnight bought complaints from Managers about people not being around for meetings on the 10th day.
- Flexible work options worked the best – after we implemented a “ ideally must be in the office between 9-3pm” to allow for meetings etc
- Working from home never really got off the ground as managers wanted staff onsite.
- Part-time experienced medium success – especially in roles that were over resourced in the first place.
Hence when we came to measure the success of the project – feedback was mediocre at best.
In hindsight the organisation was not ready for that kind of flexibility. The culture at that time was not one of total trust and confidence.
Key learning – Is your whole organisation ready to embrace worklife policies??? Does your culture really support them???
And even though you now by law have to have a genuine business reason not to consider worklife balance requests – you would be surprised at how many companies are not really ready to embrace this type of work environment.
On the positive side – if your business is truly able to offer flexible work practices then you have a great tool in your arsenal to hire (and keep) really fabulous people.
In other words – if your organisation has worklife balance as a recognised part of its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) then you have a great offering to market the heck out of – so go for it.
We would love to hear about your experiences implementing worklife balance initiatives – drop us some comments below and let our client community know what has or has not worked for you.