Thursday, 28 October 2010

Suggestions for Work/life Professionals

by WFC Resources

Jobs Vacancy, Employment, Job Vacancies

This tip comes to us from Arlene Johnson, vice president of WFD Consulting. It caught our eye when it was first published in the January issue of Work/Life Today, and Arlene and Sharon O'Malley have given us permission to republish it.

Work/life professionals might consider making four New Year’s resolutions for 2006:

1. Spend less energy on making the “business case” for your efforts and more on clarifying how work/life meets the needs of the people in your organization. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you shouldn’t make it clear how work/life connects with organizational priorities and goals. We certainly need to let everyone know about the value that work/life efforts bring to the business. But the “business case” has morphed into both a defense of work/life programs and a way to talk people into adopting them. Neither is the most effective way to make work/life a part of an organization’s culture.

Take a step back. Instead of pushing programs on your organization because you can produce numbers that prove they would enhance productivity or cut turnover, listen to employees and managers to learn what kind of work/life help they need. The real business value of a work/life perspective is its ability to address people issues that matter to the business. Spend 2006 starting conversations with the question: “What is important to you?”

2.View managers as a primary customer of work/life services, not as a barrier to their adoption. We all know that if managers don’t support flexibility, there will be no flexibility. What we overlook is a primary reason why they often don’t support it: They don’t feel supported themselves. Managers need flexibility, too. They need support in managing the personal demands on their time with the incredible pressure of supervising people of all skill levels, meeting quotas and keeping production steady.

You know the best source of referrals for your company’s products and services is a happy customer. Likewise, managers who experience support for their own work/life effectiveness are more likely to see its value and to be champions of your cause.

3. Make work load your organization’s No. 1 work/life issue. Let managers know that one-third of all employees feel overworked, and that overwork causes stress, burnout and turnover. Then do something about it. Help managers identify and rid their staffs of low-value work so employees can spend less time on unimportant tasks.

Give managers tools for building team resilience or bring in trainers who can help teams and individuals cope with heavy work loads and burn out. Elevate work load issues to the top of your work/life agenda for 2006 so senior leaders in your organization will address them and find ways to solve them.

4. Develop one unlikely partnership. It has become common for work/life advocates to work with human resource and diversity experts toward shared goals. In 2006, make a point of teaming up with people elsewhere in your organization: line management, compensation, training or marketing, for example. The more you expose others to the problem-solving power of work/life benefits, the broader your organization’s understanding and acceptance of those benefits will become.

In return, you might learn something about how to market your programs internally or how to engage business managers in employing flex-time or telework. Partnerships increase the impact of work/life advocates. Any time you can integrate work/life concepts into the work of your organization, you advance your goal of making employees and the business more effective.


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