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Do employee work-life balance initiatives improve employee retention and organisational performance? Essay Example

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The importance of work life balance has grown out the changes witnessed in the demographical and social environment which has resulted in declining workforce and different models for different style of working. Developing a proper work-life balance is being identified as a method through which employees’ retention improves and the employees’ performance improves. The paper looks to evaluate the importance of work-life balance so that organizations based on it can develop strategies which will help to retain employees and ensure that the overall performance of the employees improves. This will thereby facilitate in a process through which employees will be better committed and will ensure that the growth of the organization can be ensured.

Work-life balance has been defined as a process which looks towards creating a balance between the paid work and other activities which has its importance for people. The definition doesn’t looks to state what is right or wrong and looks to state what is considered important for people and could be spending time with family, involving in community services, personal work and so on (Bloom, Kretschmer and Reenen, 2006). Since, human beings are irrational it is important to develop the correct balance between so that the person is able to develop a way through which progress can be ascertained.

The work-life balance further engulfs the fact that people remain very highly committed to the organization which thereby has an impact on their personal life. This makes it important that a proper balance is developed between the two so that employees remain contended with their jobs and are able to develop their personal life as well (Hall and Parker, 2003). This helps to provide maximum satisfaction to the employees who thereby ensure that the employees remain more committed and are able to carry out the different activities in the most productive manner.

Studies carried out in the same direction highlights that positive correlation exists between the work-life balance and productivity of the employees. A research carried out over 597 working parents in UK highlights positive relation between work-life balance and productivity as the degree of satisfaction increases which thereby transfers to a situation where people start to enjoy their work thereby helping to multiply the enjoyment level (Galinsky and Johnson, 2008). This thereby ensures that people stay with the same job as the different needs in the level of hierarchy is met which thereby converts into a situation where overall productivity increases.

In a similar manner another research carried out in US where 151 managers and 1353 employees were involved highlighted that 70& managers were of the view that having a proper work-life balance helps to multiply the working style as flexibility can be ensured within the organization. In a similar manner 76% of the employees felt that it results in better retention within the organization and 65% believed that the quality of work improves. Only 5% showed that it had a negative influence highlighting the manner in which employees have started to prefer a balance between work-life for maximum productivity (Guthrie, 2001).

It was further analyzed that having a proper balance between work-life results in a very positive impact on the bottom line as it multiplies rapidly. This is primarily due to the fact that having a proper balance ensures maximum satisfaction of the employees which in tune converts to better performance and low employee turnover (Hill, Miller, Weiner and Colihan, 2008). This is true that at some situations the positives from a proper work-life balance is limited but looking and analyzing the same at length highlight the manner in which it yield effectiveness in the style of working (Messenger, 2004).

Work-life balance is basically aimed at developing a viable environment which helps to create and support a healthy work environment so that a balance can be achieved between work and personal life. This helps to multiply employee loyalty and productivity as satisfaction transforms into better results. It is further seen through different studies that 1 out of 4 employees have to undergo a high degree of conflict between work and family which is due to the fact that the person is able to give little time to the family and is more occupied with the personal carrier (Lewis, 2001).

Having long working hours which are highly stressful jobs converts into a situation where the employees ability to deliver superior performance is hampered. This thereby increases risks in other areas like addiction to smoking, drinking, health issues, depression, and similar other problems which further have an impact on the performance (Konrad and Mangel, 2000). This leads towards wastage of valuable resources which could have otherwise been transferred in a manner which could have increased productivity and would have ensured better results.

Having a proper flexible work arrangement which is aimed at ensuring the required balance between work and life reduces the level of stress which employees undergo as employees feel satisfied with their jobs which transfers into satisfaction with personal life thereby ensuring a good balance (McDonald, Brown and Bradley, 2005). This reduces the spillover effect as employees dissatisfaction at the job could lead towards negative work life conflict or dissatisfaction could also lead towards negative work-work conflict which hampers productivity and results in vital loss of resources (Michael, 2005).

Work-life balance thereby brings forward two interferences i.e. work interference with family and family interference with work. Any problems faced in either of the two above mentioned interference could hamper productivity and lead towards fatal results for all (Thompson, Beauvais and Lyness, 2009). So, developing a model or a process which looks towards having a proper balance ensures employees retention and multiplies productivity for the employees. This will have a positive impact on the organization as apart from the proper use of resources the organizations will be able to ensure low employee turnover (De Cieri, Holmes, Abbott and Pettit, 2002). This will thereby reduce the cost of searching and employing new employees. The organization will also be saved from the burden of searching new employees and the overall result can bring a change in productivity and multiplies the opportunity to grow.

Organizations to gain maximum effectiveness from work-life balance has to consider the importance of developing the required tools which will help to maximize the satisfaction level of employees and provides the required training to be able to deliver superior performance on the stated level (Callister, 2005). Developing a proper work-life balance also acts as an intrinsic reward for the employees as it lead towards mental satisfaction which helps to improve the productivity of the employees.

Analyzing the same after looking it from the perspective of Maslow Hierarch of Needs also shows that achieving a proper work-life balance ensures that the basic needs and social needs of the employees are fulfilled. This thereby gives them a sense of satisfaction and employees based on it looks towards achieving the higher needs (Blair and Wharton, 2004). This thereby makes the employees to work even harder and ensures that the organization by adopting a flexible approach is able to bring the required transformation in the style of working.

This has been matched by the manner in which organizations all around the globe are looking to adopt ways which are flexible and aims at maximizing the satisfaction level of employees. This helps to create a platform where the different development in technology can be used and based on the different inputs the organization is able to ensure better employee retention and opportunity of growth for the organization through better productivity (Osterman, 2005).

The paper thereby highlights the importance of work-life balance and shows the manner in which productivity and employee turnover can be improved through it. The method acts as an intrinsic reward which motivates the employees to work harder and thereby ensures better use of resources. In addition to it having a proper balance also ensures better use of the resources and leads to a situation where the organization is able to gain productivity through the use of resources.


Blair, L and Wharton, T. 2004. Organizational commitment and constraints on work-family policy use: corporate flexibility policies in a global firm. Sociological Perspectives, 47 (3): 243-267.

Bloom, N., Kretschmer, T., and Reenen, J. 2006. Work life balance, management practices and productivity. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics.

Callister, P. 2005. Overworked families? Changes in the paid working hours of families with young children, 1986 to 2001. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 24: 160-184.

De Cieri, H., Holmes, B., Abbott, J. and Pettit, T. 2002. Work/life balance strategies: progress and problems in Australian Organisations. Working Paper 58/02. Dept of Management, Monash University.

Galinsky, E and Johnson, A. 2008. Reframing the business case for work-life initiatives. Families and Work Institute, New York

Guthrie, J. 2001. High involvement work practices, turnover and productivity: evidence from New Zealand. Academy of Management Journal, 44 (1): 180-190.

Hall, D. and Parker, V. 2003. The role of workplace flexibility in manageing diversity. Organizational Dynamics, 22 (1): 4-18.

Michael, H. 2005. Outrageous employee benefits. Practice Management case study: staff retention. Journal of Accountancy, 32-37.

Hill J. Miller, B. Weiner, S. and Colihan, J. 2008. Influences of the virtual office on aspects of work and work/life balance, Personnel Psychology, 51: 667-683.

Konrad, A. and Mangel, C. 2000. The impact of work-life programs on firm productivity. Strategic Management Journal. 21 (12): 1225-1237.

Lewis, 2001. Restructuring workplace cultures: the ultimate work-family. Women in Management Review. 16 (1): 21-29.

McDonald, P., Brown, K. and Bradley, L. 2005. Explanations for the provision-utilisation gap in work-life policy. Women in Management Review, 20 (1): 37-55.

Messenger, J. 2004. Finding the balance: working time and workers needs and preferences in industrialised countries. Paper presented at 9th International Symposium on Working Time, Paris, February 2004, cited in Callister 2005 above.

Osterman, P. 2005. Work/family programs and the employment relationship. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40: 681-700.

Thompson, C., Beauvais, L., and Lyness, K. 2009. When work-family benefits are not enough: the influence of work-family culture on benefit utilization, organizational attachment and work-family conflict. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 54: 392-415.