How Employers Can Support Work/Life Harmony Approach to Careers

We explored the idea of individuals taking a whole-life-fit approach to their careers in our last post, to help them create harmony between their work and life. The concept of finding harmony, rather than balance between the two, outlines that in order to achieve a better quality of life, we must learn to leverage our strengths and abilities from each area of our life to contribute to others. As the individual seeks to find that harmony, employers can put forth their efforts to help employees achieve it. According to the Corporate Executive Board, who represents about 80% of the Fortune 500 companies, who found that employees who believe that they have a good work/life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t. That’s a pretty nice productivity boost.

Employers are offering numerous perks to help their team members find a good work/life balance, but the statistics show that many employees are not satisfied with the efforts. A study by the American Psychological Association reveals that 59% of employees are satisfied by those efforts, with only 53% saying they think that their employer actually values a work/life balance.

As employers focus on their efforts to turn a profit, attention should be given to the wellbeing of staff as well. Fostering an environment where employees feel secure, satisfied, and valued means that your employees are more willing and capable to meet your objectives. By introducing harmony, rather than balance, you are acknowledging that each individual member has varied life demands, skills, interests, and aspirations, and that you are happy to embrace them for the good of both the company and employee.

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 states that 38% of employers felt like they were ‘weak’ when it came to helping employees balance personal and professional work/life demands. That is shockingly low, when considered against the above stats. Integrating a work/life harmony approach into your Talent Management strategy can help to boost a company’s own view on their efforts, along with that of the employee.

Five tips to help your employees find work/life harmony:

  1. When hiring, seek talent fit
    Invest in employees who are invested in your organization.
    Balanced approach = Hiring a candidate based on Job Fit, meaning they are capable of doing the job, but are not necessarily a fit for the company.
    Harmony approach = Hiring a candidate based on Talent Fit, meaning that you seek out candidates who are aligned with your company values, goals, brand, purpose, and who fit with your talent forecasting needs. They fit within the role and within the company.
  1. Allow staff to explore career development options
    While some people are content to spend their entire career in a single role type, many are not.
    Balanced Approach = providing a lateral career path to employees, focusing on developing a certain skill set while excluding other skills and interests
    Harmony Approach = creating an exploratory, zig-zag path that allows employees to utilize a varied skill set and leverage their strengths, resulting in greater contribution to your organization
  1. Implement and support employee policies to respect the demands of life outside of the company.
    Formally acknowledging that your employees have a life outside of work set it clear: you respect your staff for the people they are. Implementing and supporting policies helps your employees understand that you value them.
    Balanced Approach = Offering an excellent vacation package, for example
    Harmony Approach = Offering flex time that works around the personal life demands of employees, so that they don’t have to use up vacation time for things that are not actually vacation related
  1. Encourage staff to participate on projects that are outside of their job role, but within their interest and skill sets.
    Similar to encouraging career exploration, encouraging staff to participate in other projects is an empowering move that gives them the opportunity to contribute in ways they typically would not be able to.
    Balanced Approach = Interdepartmental teams focusing on a single result
    Harmony Approach = Cross-departmental teams working together, providing varied views and needs, different perspectives on problem solving and solutions
  1. Disconnect
    Don’t expect that your employees will be available 24/7. Certain projects and tasks might require that your staff be available outside of their regular working hours, but don’t expect that this should be the norm.
    Balanced Approach = Prioritizing work needs, fitting in life needs
    Harmony Approach = Respecting both work and life needs

Finding work/life harmony is the responsibility of the individual, there is no denying it. Employers have the opportunity to support their team members to find that harmony, which will only benefit the organization in the long run.

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