We all know that work-life balance is a key objective for many millennials. Managers are working hard to find that balance for younger employees. But, are they doing so at the expense of older employees? A Robert Half Management Resources survey points to some of the current problems employers face when they focus on work-life balance. Here’s what to watch out for.
The overheated economy means employers should be striving to keep employees happy and loyal. The good news is employer efforts on the work-life balance front are headed in the right direction. Over half of employees believe conditions are improving. And, the majority of employees say their boss is supportive of them and sets a good work-life balance example.
The survey also uncovered some discrepancies. Younger employees, especially millennials, are far more likely to say that their bosses are helping them find the right balance between work and personal time. Only 31% of employees who are 55+ say the same thing.
Part of the problem here could be communication. One size won’t fit all on this topic. Have you taken the time to talk with individual employees about work-life balance? Your younger employees are likely in a different life stage than the older employees. Millennials who are ages 30 and up may be keen on working from home, so they can keep an eye on their sleeping infant. Older employees may need the flexibility to step out early to catch the lacrosse game their kids are playing in. If your work-life balance policy doesn’t clearly allow for this type of flexibility or personalization, some employees may feel slighted.
Update as Needed
Check in with your team members on a regular basis. Adjustments you’ve made to accommodate work-life balance needs should be updated as necessary. For example, the newborn will become a crawling toddler within nine months and require more intensive supervision. At that point, your employee should be making alternate care arrangements, so they can focus on their work tasks.
Set an Example
Even if you encourage employees to emphasize work-life balance, they might hesitate. That’s often because they see you and other managers working early, working late or checking email during vacation. Your workaholic tendencies are sending a silent message: be like me if you want to get ahead in this organization. Stop paying lip service to work-life balance and walk the talk. If you need to check email on vacation, be clear about the limited about of time you’ll be available.
Establishing a work-life balance initiative that treats all employees fairly takes time. Plans crafted for individual employees should be updated regularly. Above all, managers should show their commitment to work-life balance, especially by not working on vacation.