Zoltan Vadkerti is a work-life expert, blogger and co-founder of the WorkLife HUB.
What’s more, women are 5 times more likely to feel pressured for time and for balancing work and family responsibilities, and when time-related pressure adds up it leads to physical or emotional exhaustion. One available solution for organisations to mitigating this strain is to provide their employees with supportive work-life initiatives. Does your organisation address work-related stress?
The most-forward-looking organisations have been paying close attention to this phenomenon for decades and are at the forefront of change, applying comprehensive work-life integration strategies. This includes the cooperation between different operational departments (facilities, legal, CSR, HR, health and safety, internal communication, marketing, IT) towards joint goals and metrics or even the setting up of Work-Life Manager positions.
The authors make their 10 years of research available to show leaders how to drive the work-life discussion to the next level
Today, way too many organisations still entrust the question of work-life integration to HR managers. While these professionals play a critical role, work-life experts, Agnes Uhereczky and Zoltan Vadkerti, call on organisations to revisit this approach in their new book, One Life - How the most forward-looking organisations leverage work-life integration to attract talent and foster employee wellbeing. The authors make their 10 years of research available to show leaders how to drive the work-life discussion to the next level. In their work they have found there are 3 critical elements of outstanding work-life integration strategies:
1) Putting the business case in use
Most employers believe in the transformative power of work-life integration policies and programmes. We find a myriad of successful organisational level initiatives in Australia. They range from the shipping industry to the mining sector, from governmental programmes to flexible working arrangements in the Australian army. The main challenge for less advanced companies is how to make their work-life integration strategies work.
One of the most telling indicators of the success of any work-life integration strategy is the take-up of its programmes or projects. It is not enough to put in place one or two services or policies, the most important question then becomes, how much is this service actually needed, and how many potential users take advantage from these opportunities. This reflects the culture of the organisation.
Take-up is also critical in terms of holding people accountable. The numbers related to employee engagement, talent attraction, retention or the level of burnout make up the fundamental business case for work-life integration. For these moving parts to work in harmony, every small unit at the organisation must be aware and have individual goals and metrics for them to be successful.
2) Engaging with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
When it comes to systemic work-life integration initiatives organisations need to take a broader view of their internal structures and ecosystem to have a better understanding of the stakeholders involved. By mapping them and their role in work-life integration, employers will have a greater insight on what is already happening within their businesses to avoid further fragmentation of the issue.
It is rather rare that the Chief IT Officer or the Internal Communication Director, or their teams, are involved in key work-life integration discussions to work closer and achieve strategic objectives. Pointing out stakeholders is mission critical, so does having joint goals, established communication channels, and coordinated metrics for your CHRO, CDO, CMO, and all involved internal partners.
3) Aligning business objectives with work-life integration
Linking work-life integration to the strategic objectives and purpose of the organisation is paramount. What the authors have found from interviewing more than 200 employers and businesses, is that once work-life integration is associated with strategic outcomes (talent attraction and retention, innovation, employer branding, efficiency and performance) it is much harder to undo these policies later on. To create an even bigger impact and to coordinate programmes, the most progressive and innovative organisations decide to set up Work-Life Manager positions, even departments or offices.
Who are these pioneering organisations? They come from all sectors and different countries, but what unites them is a profound commitment to employee well-being and recognising caring responsibility as an integral part of the lives of employees. Stanford University and its work-life department are coordinating the largest corporate childcare offering the United States, the Charité hospital in Berlin have set up a Family Office to encourage fathers to take their parental leave and adidas runs a multitude of programmes under their Diversity and Work-Life Integration umbrella.
Is your organisation ready to embrace work-life integration? The most forward-looking companies are never satisfied with their status. According to Uhereczky and Vadkerti, it is now time to raise the bar for businesses. Their recently published book, One Life, introduces a well-thought-through maturity model to support organisations understand where they are currently with their readiness to embrace work-life integration initiatives.