Work-Life Balance Becomes Top-Talent Magnet

Work-life balance is something that effects everyone. A recent article by Sherri Elliott-Yeary, CEO of Optimance Strategies, a national HR consulting firm, notes that work-life balance is not a perk. Today work-life balance has become a strategic talent engagement tool.

A massive workforce shift is happening, where there are more millennials alive than baby boomers. Hence, numbers suggest that millennials will have a big impact on the workforce, and they demand a work-life balance at a very different level. The workplace must develop an organizational culture that is tolerant and accepting of the new frame of mind about work-life balance. This goes back to the core of things – values. Each generation within the workforce has different generational values, and the older generations will have to adapt to these younger generational values.

Millennials have high expectations for work and life, and as they enter the workforce, employers must evolve, using tools such as social media and work-life programs to recruit, manage, motivate and retain these workforce additions.

It’s been said that this generation is the most high-maintenance workforce in history. This slew of individuals have been brought up with a massive amount of parental support, through failure and success. Work-life balance is not a new idea, but it’s not as much a part of the vocabulary for baby-boomers, for whom life = work. Millennials generally want their work to involve meaning and enjoyment, they want to believe that their work has a greater meaning and their job to be a means of supporting their lifestyle.

Talent managers must be weary of participating in generational stereotypes. There are similarities between all groups, such as millennials and boomers sharing attitudes regarding their work-life balance and workplace requirements.

Work-life balance is about successfully joining two distinct sides of ourselves in a harmonious way. It is work and life, not either/or. The definition of balance is highly personal. It is not an end state, but something a person strives for, and that process or best mix can evolve.

Even though the job market isn’t in a pristine state, top talent does have a little extra room to move around, especially those in the millennial generation. They’re willing to move around, try different jobs,  they’re willing to move to a different state if need be – especially if it means they can have balance and create a difference. Talent leaders trying to snag this segment of top talent should consider offering a variety work-life perks like flexible scheduling, job-sharing and telecommuting.

Millennials have their hand in a dozen pots – they aren’t considering work to be the one pot they continually have to stir. And, they often don’t want to have to focus on work alone. They saw their parents and grandparents make huge sacrifices for work, and don’t want their lives to be that way. They can put in a serious work week to get the job done, but every week shouldn’t be that way.

Offering work-life flexibility within your organization can increase employee morale and improve retention and recruitment. A study published by the University of Michigan notes that if talent leaders don’t help employees balance work and home lives, they will anyway, in ways the organization probably won’t like. So why not use every tool available to help employees balance? Utilizing tools like telecommuting, job sharing, flexible start and end times with paid time off are a few ways to help improve employee work-life balance.

Great talent managers know that millennials are quick to accomplish goals so they can enjoy the other things in life, and utilizing work-life programs creates engaged employees. Engaged employees are more motivated, creative, productive and generally happier. Higher engagement leads to lower turnover, which leads to increased profits for the company. So, as a talent manager, ask your employees what they want and need to be fully engaged.

Organizations that create options that meet employee’s expectations of work-life balance often see a great return on investment with fewer attendance problems, lower turnover rates, higher loyalty rates, reduced on-the-job accidents and a shorter time span to fill open positions within the organization.

According to Resultance, Inc., a generational consulting firm, there are a few steps talent managers can take to engage and motivate employees, and they call it “ROCK STAR”:

Reachable – goals should fit the role and job description and allow the employee to be challenged.

Opportunity – offer chances to work on new projects, or in new divisions or groups.

Challenging – challenge employees’ skills and abilities to enable them to reach new levels within the company.

Knowledge – offer opportunities to be mentored.

Skills – on a regular basis assess the skills required for a job and determine what training is required to develop additional skills and abilities.

Tasks – what new tasks can be given to employees who want to increase their learning?

Acknowledgment – when employees go above and beyond, they want to be acknowledged and respected for their contributions.

Relevant – work should be relevant and congruent to the company’s mission and values.

Offering ways and allowing employees to grow and develop will increase their levels of responsibility and eventually, their balance. Attracting top talent by offering a great mix of options for work-life balance will increase your organization’s bottom line. Talent leaders who see this early can help push their organization to the forefront of the next five years. To read more about what you can do as a savvy talent manager, click here to read the full article.

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