It’s that time of year again—employee engagement survey season! Over the next few weeks, there’s a good chance you’ll be tasked with gathering, analyzing, and interpreting critical feedback from your employee population, and if you’re anything like the thousands of companies we’ve spoken with over the past few years, there’s at least one thing you can already anticipate: a work-life balance issue. Am I right?
Believe me when I say you aren’t alone. Work-life balance is a real problem that companies see year after year after year, with little to no improvement. And it can be frustrating, especially when you’ve dedicated money and resources to solutions that simply don’t move the needle, like discounted gym memberships, company meal plans, and updated lounge areas or game rooms. While these initiatives are well intentioned, they often fall short or fail entirely because the underlying source of the problem is not being addressed: lack of flexibility.
Through our research here at Werk, we’ve discovered that the current structure of the workday is affecting employees significantly in three key areas of their lives: caregiving, productivity, and health and wellness. In fact, 96 percent of employees need flexibility, yet only 19 percent have access to the type of flexibility they need. This gap often shows up in engagement surveys as “work-life balance.” And as a result of this flexibility gap, employees aren’t just burning out—they’re actively planning their exit strategies.
A lot of companies we talk to react to challenging work-life balance results by instituting policies like “Fridays work from home.” But, one size fits all solutions are insufficient. These types of policies might sound good on paper, but since they fail to address your employees’ diverse range of flexibility needs, they can actually have the exact opposite effect. For example, if an employee is less productive at home and more productive in an office setting, this policy won’t help them at all. And so their work-life balance question results won’t improve. And these policies might even feel inauthentic to some employees, which can affect more than the “work-life balance question”; it can affect employee net promoter scores and feelings of loyalty. In order for flexibility to be successful, it must be approached with custom tailoring in mind, and with data to support the implementation.
Until now, flexibility has been a soft and squishy concept, with no real way to see how flexibility is doing on the ground and how it’s affecting your most important business objectives. That’s why we created the first and only people analytics platform that measures current flexibility baselines and gaps, the highest ROI flex investments to close those gaps, and the impact of flexibility on the most critical business metrics. Think about it as a solution-first double-click on the work-life balance topic. Companies that use Werk can see, for the first time, what specifically is driving their work-life balance issues, identify “micro cultures” and pockets of challenges, and get data-based recommendations for how to solve them.
So when you get the results of your employee engagement survey this year, take a moment to consider how your company’s flexibility policies—or your lack thereof—might be impacting work-life balance. Maybe this is the year you can move the needle. It’s an issue we’d love to help you solve. Learn more on werk.co.