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Cultural Support of Work/Life Integration Strategies. Is employer support of work/life integration a business issue?. Ice Breaker:. Is support for work/family integration a business issue? Why or why not? Form a pair.

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cultural support of work life integration strategies

Cultural Support of Work/Life Integration Strategies

Is employer support of work/life integration a business issue?

ice breaker
Ice Breaker:
  • Is support for work/family integration a business issue? Why or why not?
  • Form a pair.
  • If yes, you have five minutes to brainstorm with a partner as many reasons as it is and jot down these ideas to report out.
  • If no, brainstorm as many reasons why not to report out.
gap between rhetoric and reality
Many firms have cultures where using work/life policies is seen as benefiting the individual far more than the firm.

Meeting employee’s personal needs are not yet seen as meeting customers’ needs

Work/life policies are still largely programmatic

little link to other HR policies

little focus on informal cultural issues

glass ceiling effect

Gap Between Rhetoric and Reality
ending the war between work and family
Peter Senge: MIT professor & author of Fifth Discipline:

In his leadership seminars “finding balance between my work and family” is the number one issue of attendees.

Successful executives are more likely to work long hours, be willing to make sacrifices to get ahead.

Also likely to have personal characteristics detrimental to their children strive for perfection,impatience, efficiency)

Fortune article: Execs.’ children more likely to have emotional and health problems

Ending the War Between Work and Family
changing the corporate culture
Work/Family Directions Study

Many firms offer flexible schedules but barriers to use persist: supervisors & fear about career impact

Time Bind: We live denial:

Either dream about the potential balanced future self; minimize our needs or our families’ needs.

1993 Catalyst study

1/4 of HR managers felt that use of flexible policies had negative impact on career advancement

32% of employees surveyed at Johnson & Johnson felt using flexibility would hurt careers

Changing the Corporate Culture
changing the corporate culture1
Changing the Corporate Culture
  • Study of 902 women graduates of Harvard law, business & medical school
  • 85% felt that reducing hours of work is detrimental to careers
common u s work life assumptions is there a war between work and family
Common U. S. Work/Life Assumptions: Is there a war between work and family?
  • Employees cannot be equally committed to the family and the workplace.
  • The workplace can be designed without regard to employees’ non-work lives.
  • Society as a whole doesn’t necessarily benefit when we help individual with family needs.
  • Nuturance activities such as child and elder care are mainly the purview of women.
  • Personal problems should be kept at home.
common u s work life assumptions
In an individualistic culture, achieving balance between work and family is not necessarily highly valued.

Benefit programs can only satisfy workers and make them happier, they cannot make employees more productive.

Face Time (or hours present at the office) equals output/performance.

Equitable means identical.

Families and children are private matters. The choice to have children is personal and should neither be sanctioned nor discouraged.

Common U. S. Work/Life Assumptions
common u s work life assumptions1
Common U. S. Work/Life Assumptions
  • The workplace can be designed without regard to employee’s non-work lives.
  • When work-family conflicts occur, work demands must prevail.
    • Work-family conflicts are seen as special cause form of variance (a deviance caused by an individual employee’s problem) as opposed to common cause variance (caused by not optimizing the design of workplace systems to accommodate work/life integration issues for all employees.)
integrating work life initiatives into the corporate culture
Integrating Work/Life Initiatives Into the Corporate Culture
  • Are basic assumptions of organizational continuous improvement, competitiveness, and work/family change initiatives congruent with each other?
some selected quotations from managerial interviews
A corporation’s success depends on a quality, innovative and dedicated workforce: If you don’t get the people thing right, you won’t get the customer thing right.(Dow)

To get high quality, you need to be sensitive to the personal needs that employees have. There should no be a division between personal needs and what is going on on work. (Motorola)

Some Selected Quotations from Managerial Interviews
why work life matters for the bottom line
Why Work/Life Matters for the Bottom Line:
  • Consistently shown to influence key work and personal outcomes ranging from job, life, and family satisfaction to performance to turnover.
        • Growing work-life integration pressures on employees also may affect employers’ ability to realize the potential of their future labor force. Reports indicate that for growing numbers of college graduates about to enter the labor market, nearly half (45%) say that their top consideration in selecting a first employer is the ability to achieve a balance between work and a rewarding life outside of work.
        • Increased productivity due to employees’ heightened ability to perform their jobs since they are not distracted by constant dependent care problems.
why work life matters for the bottom line1
Why Work-Life Matters for the Bottom Line
  • Research also shows that family problems can have major financial costs for employers.
  • Data from a national panel study conducted by The University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research indicates that family and marital problems translate into work loss of approximately $6.8 billion per year.
    • Work/life programs that are effectively supported by the work culture can also have financial implications for other factors typically not included in benefits calculations: reduced recruiting, training, and related replacement costs, since employees who are satisfied with their work/life situation are less likely to turnover.
why work life matters for the bottom line2
Why Work-Life Matters for the Bottom Line
  • Linkage of work-life policies to bundles of HR practices indicative of high performance work systems and high employer investments in workers (e.g., extensive selection systems, good training, etc.) has been overlooked by most managers and leading HR scholars.
      • Idea of “bundles in strategic HRM: groups of HR practices have congruence and should be adopted as bundles to send employees a coherent HRM message. If policies to invest in employee’s work-life balance needs over the life span are adopted as part of a package of other high-performance HR policies that invest in attracting and keeping the best workers, then employees will be feel valued and will be motivated to stay with the employer over the long term.
integrating work life initiatives into the corporate culture1
Integrating Work/Life Initiatives Into the Corporate Culture
  • Can best be achieved by addressing potential conflicts and congruencies between work/life interventions and other on-going business initiatives.
  • Have greatest chance for long term success if they are viewed in terms of their capacity for fostering change in organizational cultural assumptions as opposed to programmatic efforts
creating commonalties
Creating Commonalties
  • Like other continuous improvement initiatives: need to link work/life interventions to other change initiatives and on-going business concerns
  • Need to diagnose cultural barriers against creating a workplace supportive of individual’s needs
  • Assess how to make organizational systems work well for all individuals (Reduce common cause variance)
creating commonalties1
Creating Commonalties
  • Develop a team oriented culture where workers collaborate to support each other
  • Culture should strive to serve all customers well -whether external or internal (employees)
  • Diagnosis of core philosophy, and language and tools used to manage programs may highlight disconnects between work/life programs and other organizational initiatives
integrating work life initiatives into the corporate culture2
Integrating Work/Life Initiatives Into the Corporate Culture
  • Metaphor: Think of the workplace as a flower garden.
  • Many different seeds are planted and cultivated
  • In many firms, work/family initiatives and other major business initiatives (e.g. TQM, teams, diversity) represent important though largely separate patches in the garden.
changing the corporate culture2
Changing the Corporate Culture
  • “You must believe that people are worth developing and that….you have this valuable commodity, this human being who works for you that you want to continuously develop. Hopefully you will gain a long term employee who is flexible, creative, and gives a lot to the organization.” (Corning manager)
changing the corporate culture3
Changing the Corporate Culture
  • “There are very few managers who are really good at managing the human resource and looking at the long term picture of career development, work/family issues and dealing with diversity . When these become integrated things, instead of add-ons, that’s when I think we have gotten close to arriving.” (Corning manager)
competing values
Competing Values
  • Effective managers must manage competing tensions and paradoxes and offer conflicting messages.
        • must use both old and new ways of managing: both theory Y (enlightened management) and theory X (have hierarchy and rules and use the stick if needed).
        • We want our organizations to be adaptable and flexible, BUT we also want them stable and controlled.
        • We want growth, resource acquisition and external support, BUT we want tight information management and formal communication.
        • We want emphasis on the value of human resources BUT we also want emphasis on planning and goal setting.
competing value tension work family responsiveness and business efficiency pressures
Competing Value Tension:Work-Family Responsiveness and Business Efficiency Pressures
  • Mixed messages given to employees on how to balance work with family may be due to the fact that organizations often have to jointly manage competing values.
human relations management model
Human Relations Management Model:
  • Takes long term view of human resource development that views investment in employees’ work/life integration needs as way to promote productivity through caring about workers .
  • Model concerned with the development of human resources and longer time lines.
  • Assumption: if you give an employee some slack over the short term to deal with personal needs, over the long run productivity will be maximized due to higher employee morale and commitment.
  • The human resources department as the unit that helps ensure employees have a voice in the company, has historically reflected human relations philosophies.
rational goal management model
Rational Goal Management Model:
  • Managers in functions other than HR such as production or marketing, or even top management tend to hold values consistent with the rational goal approach.
  • Approach is concerned with quarterly maximization of output and shorter time lines.
  • Under this view, employee needs for company support may be viewed as hurting efficiency over the short run. For example, if an employee takes a leave of absence for personal needs, efficiency is hurt over the short run since s/he is not at work producing.
most firms do not manage these competing values very well
Most Firms Do Not Manage These Competing Values Very Well
  • Tend to have a predominant cultural approach to managing work and family:
  • Social Arbiter Approach: Work/Life Issues Are Private and Employer Should Only Get Involved In Cases of Poor Performance
  • Whole Persons and Systems Approach: Work-Family Policies Sensitive to the Needs of Workers as Internal Customers Can Serve to Enhance Quality and Cultural Change
  • Omniscient Organization: Little Separation
reflecting on your work life goals
Reflecting on Your Work/Life Goals
  • Why is it important for managers to self reflect on not only their professional goals relative to work but also
  • their personal goals relative to your private and family life?
  • Which organizational approach (social arbiter, whole person, or omniscient would you most likely see followed by your future employer to help you achieve them both and why?