Let’s face it. Achieving work life balance is difficult for everyone; it’s hard for employees to balance it all and challenging for employers to provide all the support and services needed. It costs money to provide extra benefits that make it easier for employees to feel good about the safety and well-being of the families they support, so they can focus on work at work. And we all know, without work-life benefits such as child-care, preschool solutions and back-up care for children/elders, employees can get caught in catch-22 situations, having to make hard choices between work and family. But the positive impact on business of providing work-life benefits can’t be denied. The Alliance for Work-Life Progress reports that companies including Hewlett Packard, KPMG, and Ryder experience significant bottom-line benefits by implementing work-life initiatives.
Work-Life Initiatives Success Stories
AWLP reports that effective work-life programs have measurable return on investment and have a direct business impact. Hewlett Packard’s compressed workweek almost doubled productivity, reduced overtime by 50 percent, and increased daily transactions by 200 percent. Johnson & Johnson’s corporate wellness program reduced employee hospital admissions, mental health visits, and outpatient services according a nine-year study. Children’s Health Systems’ emergency back-up child-care program produced a 10 percent reduction in turnover and a 75 percent return on the investment in the cost of the program.
Effective Employee Value Propositions
The Towers Watson 2013 Change and Communication ROI Study shows that companies that implement rewards, recognition and wellness programs (employee value propositions) aligned with business strategies benefit the most. They have more highly engaged employees and significantly higher financial performance. The most effective EVP’s are balanced and comprehensive, with a good mix of work environment, teamwork, compensation and benefits. They are employee-focused, aligned with strategy and define the employee employment experience in detail. Effective EVP’s have senior management support and strong internal communications.
Why Are Work-Life Initiatives So Important?
One of the newest Towers Watson surveys, the Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health 2013/2014 Staying@Work Survey, shows that employers recognize stress as a top workforce risk. Employers and employees have different ideas of what the top workforce stressors are, and that can lead to employers providing inadequate benefits if they don’t understand employee needs. Towers Watson suggests taking steps to understanding employee stress drivers, listening to employees about how they deal with stress and how employers can help, and lastly, re-evaluating services provided to optimize programs to support employees.
Work-life initiatives aren’t just feel-good programs to attract employees. It can be the difference between keeping and losing talent. Work-life benefits have a proven, positive impact on business success and financial performance when implemented effectively. They have to be a combination of what employees really want and need, integrated with business strategy and employer branding, and evaluated frequently to be effective.
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