For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing a series of blog posts on what leaders can do to stop their best people from walking out the door. Here’s one final idea in this series – support work-life balance.
When organizations and their leaders support work-life balance, what they’re really doing is recognizing that employees have important family and extraprofessional obligations that compete with their workplace commitments. Whether it is dependent care leave, childcare subsidies, eldercare programs, counseling and referral, or flexible working hours, these values allow people to strike a more meaningful and potentially less stressful balance between obligations at the workplace and obligations at home. And this matters! Companies that support and truly live and breathe work-life balance deeply engage their employees. In fact, the research has shown that employees will accept slightly lower than average salaries in order to achieve work-life balance!
Now even if your company doesn’t have policies that are work-life balance friendly, there is nothing stopping you from creating a microcosm in your own immediate department. As an individual leader, here are some things that you can do. If you are having a quieter day in the office, and your staff have been working really hard and long hours lately, why not give a few of them the chance to leave early? You could do the same for the others on a later date. If you are aware that an employee is taking night classes that will also benefit your company, then find an opportunity to offer him or her an extra day off to study. Give people chances to volunteer on company time. Not only is an afternoon spent sorting food at the local foodbank a great team-building activity, but your staff may also gain new skills that will benefit you and your organization elsewhere. If you support your best people, they’ll support you back!
I’ve just offered a few ideas of ways that you can support work-life balance for your people. What other ideas do you have? What are some of the things that are working well (and not so well) in your workplace? Please share by adding your comments below.