Work-Life Balance

A frequent lament I’ve been hearing for the last 30 years is “Today’s kids don’t have the work ethic of their parents.”

Interestingly, the frequency of this type of statement is inversely proportional to the local unemployment rate. When unemployment is low, then companies start to notice that their employees become less “sticky”. They leave their job and move on to something else.

Typically this is a natural phenomenon. If there are more jobs than people to fill them, the employee becomes the “price makers.” They pick and choose from a menu of employment options. When there are not enough jobs available, the opposite occurs and employees become “price takers”; they take whatever is available.

Today’s employees have more choices than they have typically had in the past. There are jobs out there;, especially in the skilled trades. It’s natural for people to want to move on to greener pastures when they are out there and technology makes them easy to find.

There are other conditions aside from unemployment which are driving today’s workforce down a different “loyalty path” than their parents took. The new generation is marrying later, they are living at home longer and they are on their parent’s healthcare plan. In short, they have less of a need for job security; at least in the short run.

Companies are scrambling to get their heads around this generation. What do they want? How can you keep them from leaving? How can you attract them in the first place?

This is a complicated issue and there is no shortage of research on this subject. However, it looks like it comes down to the following four issues: (1) Today’s workforce wants to be involved. They want you to ask them what they think. (2) Today’s workforce likes technology. They don’t want to read a bulletin board, they want to read their I-Pad. (3) Today’s workforce wants recognition. This is not something new but still, it’s high on their priority list. And (4) Today’s workforce places a very high value on Work-Life balance.

It’s this last issue, Work-Life balance, which is probably the most complicated. It’s complicated because each individual has their own idea about what this means. Does it mean job security with predictable days off? Does it mean ready access to as much overtime as you want? Does it mean having weekends off or not working nights? Does it mean a flexible work schedule? Does it mean having the ability to work harder so you can go farther or does it mean getting as much time off as possible?

Work-Life balance is complicated. It’s also the number one reason companies have come to Shiftwork Solutions over the last couple of years. Our process gets the workforce involved. Our process identifies ways to achieve Work-Life balance while meeting the needs of a company.

Companies are “in the business of being in business.” Still, it’s important to remember, “if you take care of your workforce, they will take care of your company and it will take care of the workforce…etc.”

The biggest key to making employees “sticky” again; the key to attracting them in the first place, is to focus on Work-Life balance. Only they know what that means. The trick is to allow them to express themselves with regard to this important issue. Once you have this information, the next step is to create an environment that helps them to achieve this balance.

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