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The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

September 17, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Work-life balance as a recruiting tool

shutterstock_100279817Juggling personal and professional obligations is no easy feat. But, it turns out workers do believe they can have it all – a successful career and a fulfilling personal life – and they are selecting jobs based on this expectation.

In fact, more than two-thirds of the employees believe having it all is achievable, according to an Accenture survey. The findings revealed that having both a successful career and a full life outside work is so important to employees today that many choose a job based on it.

This point is absolutely essential for employers to understand. To attract and retain top talent, you must demonstrate how you provide an environment and culture that embraces the modern expectation for work-life balance.

If you choose to bypass these types of initiatives because you either think it’s not important to the bottom line or it’s simply a fad that will pass with time, you might miss out on some key employees that could be essential to your success. After all, the same survey found that 52 percent of people have turned down a job due to concerns about its impact on their work-life balance. Additionally, work-life balance topped respondents’ definitions of career success – ahead of money, recognition and autonomy.

While providing a work-life balance isn’t required by law, those eye-opening numbers can’t be ignored– so what can you do? As an employer, you should take a look at the current state of work-life balance for employees. Are they satisfied? Is there room for improvement? What are your competitors offering?

Making room for better work-life balance at your company doesn’t necessarily require a complete overhaul. Consider these areas and ideas for improvement to help you attract and retain quality employees:

Flexible schedules: Offer flexible scheduling options as much as your business objectives allow. That might mean shifting a start or stop time by a half hour so they can avoid traffic, or offering flexible Fridays so employees can attend school events for their children. Job-sharing is another innovative offering; this allows two people to work part-time while fulfilling a full-time role.

Telecommuting: Some jobs, by nature, just do not allow for telecommuting. For those that do, working from home is a great way to attract top talent, including those employees who don’t necessarily live nearby. Plus, telecommuting can be a great way for a company to save money on hardware, electricity and desk space.

PTO: Provide adequate paid time off so employees can take vacations, enjoy time with their family and take necessary sick days without worrying about finances. Consider increasing PTO as an employee’s tenure with the company grows. Furthermore, limit the amount of PTO carryover from year to year – after all, you want to encourage employees to use time off rather than stockpile it.

Offer unpaid leave: There will be times when extraordinary events happen to employees due to circumstances out of their control. For example, a premature baby, a sick elderly parent, or a spouse who was in a bad car accident. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers of a certain size to provide 12 weeks of unpaid time off, but sometimes that’s not enough. Depending on the situation, employers might want to consider offering a leave of absence beyond what is outlined by the FMLA.

Practice what you preach: Managers must demonstrate good work-life balance practices so employees will follow. If you respond to emails while you’re supposed to be gone on a week-long vacation, employees will get the impression that they should do the same.

Having good work-life balance does not mean employees are working less. Each should be productive and dedicated when on the clock. It’s even okay to expect them to work overtime when necessary, such as at a tradeshow or on weekends during the busy season. But this expectation should be minimal or you’ll burn employees out, and before you know it, you’ll be recruiting new employees to burn out.