Today’s employers can no longer afford to ignore the impacts of work-life balance. An effective work-life strategy is a key differentiating factor that enhances talent attraction and retention. Flexible work arrangements can support business continuity and allow employees to work autonomously and efficiently. At the same time, a work-life culture builds commitment, engagement and team cohesion, thus creating a stronger organisation.
Work-life culture involves the complementary pursuit of work and personal goals so that employees can be effective and engaged in both their work and personal life, while meeting both personal and organisational objectives altogether.
In Singapore, work-life has become mandated normalcy with its own rules. As described by the Ministry of Manpower Singapore, companies can apply for grants and incentives to implement flexible work arrangements (FWAs) under Work-Life Grant (WLG) to create work-life harmony at the workplace. Moreover, under the WLG, employers will be given two main components namely FWA incentive and job sharing incentive.
As an HR practitioner, you play a crucial role in creating a positive work-life environment in an organisation. With direct access to top management, HR is privy to the strategic goals of organisation. At the same time, HR is close enough to the ground to identify employee needs. From this vantage point, HR is in an ideal position to champion a work-life strategy that aligns organisational goals with the employee’s personal work-life needs.
HR practitioners are usually the first to receive resources and updates on work life practices. This wealth of information should be shared with organisation management to help them understand that employees who successfully manage their personal life are likely to be more productive at work. This will also help HR get buy-in from management and build a convincing business case for work-life initiatives in organisation.
The best work-life policies and practices are redundant if employees do not take them up. The challenge for HR is to educate employees at every level of the organisational hierarchy on the benefits of work-life harmony and how they can achieve it. HR should also address any concerns and misconceptions about participating in work-life programmes, before implementing specific initiatives to meet employees’ needs.
As employee and business needs evolve over time, HR will need to regularly assess the effectiveness of work-life initiatives, either through formal or informal methods. Employee feedback is vital in fine-tuning programmes and policies to ensure their usefulness and relevance.