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April 6, 2012

HR Fact Friday: How Flexible Is Your Workplace – Part 2 of 2

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Wellness,Work/Life Balance6:00 am

Following is Part 2 of 2 from HRN”s March HR Industry White Paper. Part 1  posted on Friday, March 30.

Typically HRN refrains from posting our White Papers on our HR News & Views blog but this one is just too good not to share. Thanks to our very own Joyce Campbell for doing the research and writing.

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How Flexible Is Your Workplace?
Work-Life Balance as an Effective Tool for Retention – Part 2

Other findings from the 500 HR professionals and WorldatWork members surveyed include prevalence of flexible work initiatives in cultures that are in the “development” phase, vs. cultures that have “established” practices throughout the organization.

  Prevalence in Developing Flexibility Cultures Prevalence in Established Flexibility Cultures
Teleworking on an ad hoc basis 81% 94%
Phased return from leave 56% 71%
Compressed workweek 44% 70%
Part-time schedules 83% 92%
Flex-time 79% 97%
Combination of programs tailored to fit employee’s need 42% 74%

The change in the economy has actually seemed to strengthen the movement for work-life initiatives.  The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) participated in a White House forum in 2010 to voice support for work-life balance legislation.  The Alliance for Work-Life Progress at WorldatWork, also presented examples of work-life strategies some private-sector employers are using:

Kellogg headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich., holds regular educational seminars to explain how to apply for and manage flexible schedules. It has online training for managers that includes a template for creating a balanced work environment.

Northwestern Memorial Healthcare in Chicago allows nurses and imaging professionals to choose their hours online; they may adjust their hours every six weeks.

Procter & Gamble headquarters in Ohio has quarterly FlexLife sessions to help employees determine if they’re living balanced lives and create plans for change.

Although there is no one right solution to help employees achieve WLB, experts agree that the answer lies in a collaborative effort between employees and employers.  Programs such as childcare/eldercare assistance, telecommuting, flexible scheduling, employee assistance programs, and on-site fitness centers are gaining popularity as solutions to WLB issues.

A survey of your employees is a recommended first step to reveal what programs would be appreciated and embraced by staff.  Programs and initiatives aside, the best approach is for managers and supervisors to show their commitment through their words and actions.  When a manager takes a vacation or shares stories of quality time with friends and family, it shows that they are committed.

In many respects work-life balance is the next step in achieving and maintaining a diversified work force.  Perhaps not long from now, in addition to EOE and M/F/V/D at the bottom of recruitment ads we will see “We are committed to WLB”.

Joyce Campbell, SPHR, is HR Content Manager for HRN Performance Solutions. She can be reached at (800) 897-3308 or


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