Finance News & Insights

4 keys to foster work-life balance and retain top talent

Today’s employee believes a work-life balance is an essential part of overall job satisfaction. So, if your company doesn’t allow for this balance, you’re likely to see a lot of people jumping ship.

But towing the line between a successful flexible work arrangement and a free-for-all where employees take advantage of the privilege can be difficult.

Here are 4 keys to ensure a successful flexible work arrangement:

  1. It must make sense. Before taking action, you need to be sure any alternate scheduling arrangements make sense for your company. Simply put: Some companies can’t afford to change their schedules. Fortunately, most can. Once you’ve established that a flexible schedule can work, it’s imperative that employees understand it’s a privilege, not a right. Set up criteria that workers must meet in order to take advantage of your flexible scheduling.
  2. Think retention and work with the individual. If a great worker is seeking to alter their schedule because of a personal situation, it’s best to work with him or her. Sticking to the letter of the law when it comes to scheduling issues often makes workers feel as if they’re just another part of the herd, rather than a valued individual. On the whole, it’s better to have your best employees work less than not work at all. Retaining top talent today means making sure employees feel their individual needs are being met.
  3. Have HR and managers work together. Whether it’s HR execs monitoring the managers who determine which employee can work a flexible schedule, or HR creating the eligibility on its own, it’s important the two departments work together. Getting HR in the mix gives managers a perspective on how the plan will help your company.
  4. Make workers reachable. Just because certain employees aren’t in the office during traditional working hours, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reachable during those hours. This means equipping these staffers with laptops, PDAs, cell phones or anything else they need. Just don’t go too far when placing demands on when your employees should be available. Managers should clearly define when workers are expected to be reachable.
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  • If you are a business owner, another great way to attract and retain top talent is incorporating the ability to work from home into your benefits package. At my business, we even offer our employees telecommuting benefits and video conferencing options. Let’s face it. Children get sick, cars sometimes just won’t start, and other reasons pop up preventing employees from being able to work in the office. It’s times like these where working from home keeps your company moving along and facilitates a more positive work/life balance. As long as your employee has a computer and a phone at home, they are as productive as their colleagues sitting at their desks. Offering this benefit is a sure way to ease your employee’s already stressful situation and retain your top talent.

    Nancy Lyons
    Clockwork Active Media Systems

  • R. B.

    I think we need to keep our thoughts focused on the goal: getting the job done successfully and profitably. There are so many different ways to accomplish this goal, but so often, we lock ourselves in to traditional ways of working and thinking. There are a lot of people who “put in the time” but don’t really accomplish that much. But for so long, working those excessive hours has been the main standard used to determine who is a loyal and productive employee. I’ve seen some of the best burn out and become totally unproductive because of this, so I’m an advocate for changing this ridiculous standard. Unfortunately, it’s a hard one to change. First man in, last man out is still “perceived” as being the most dedicated, hardest worker. I would love to see more about how to change this and how promote a healthy work-life balance. I really think everyone wins when the workforce is not burned out. Are there any statistics available on this topic?