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HR Best Practices
HR Best Practices

Work-life Balance and Well-being

Through our daily work with over 1300 organisations, we see many examples of innovative thinking in HR. In this series of 14 best practices we define true “best practices” in HR nowadays. In this eleventh case study of this series we will focus on Work-life Balance and Wellbeing with several examples of Top Employers within the IT Consulting-, Government/Public Services-, Food and Beverage-, Automotive- and Business Services Industry.

To boost employee experience and keep motivation levels high, Top Employers are giving their people the freedom and flexibility to balance working time with outside interests, along with the opportunity to live healthier work lives.

Work-life Balance and Well-being in the IT Consulting Industry

This Top Employer (Europe, 1500 employees) runs a comprehensive programme to promote work-life balance for a population of France-based IT consultants who operate in a stressful environment, juggling multiple projects. Their Wellbeing Programme incorporates concierge services such as dry cleaning, administrative help and childcare places in nurseries/external crèches in cases of emergency. The programme also includes health services like on-site osteopath sessions, meditation sessions and cholesterol screening, as well as a telephone line for employees to communicate any issues that they may be having, which is staffed by employee volunteers. For employees with caregiving responsibilities, the company offers advice and information sessions on work-life balance concerns. Lastly, the employer allows people to donate some of their unused holidays to colleagues with hospitalised/ill children or family members.

Monitoring of this programme takes place regularly based on employees’ feedback, collected through pulse surveys and workshops with a representative sample of the overall population for managers, women and for developing talents. This has proven to be a positive way of keeping the offering focused on what employees ideally need. This programme is an excellent example of an initiative designed with the workforce needs in mind. 

Work-life Balance and Well-being in the Government/Public Services Industry 

This French-based global organisation (Global, 2400 employees) has made wellbeing a priority by appointing a wellbeing director who sits on the executive committee. This is an effective way of making sure that during times of transformation and change, the organisation will continue to take care of its people.

Work-life Balance and Well-being in the Food and Beverage Industry

This Top Employer (Europe, 800 employees) takes a long-term approach to its wellbeing activities by integrating the programme within its business priorities, which include promoting happiness, enjoyment and fitness. Happiness can translate into various positive experiences – for example -  an efficient meeting. It can also be defined as interesting activities like weekly meetups (or Innovation Thursdays as they like to call it).

The fitness element involves the provision of electric bikes in the office, as well as the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle (an example of this is free fruit provided by the organisation). The impact of these activities is tracked on a dashboard and results have shown that the average engagement rate with these activities are higher. In their customer survey, some comments mention the perceived wellbeing and happiness of the employees in the organisation.

We approve of this programme as it is a good culture fit and perfectly aligns with the employer’s consumer brand.

Work-life Balance and Well-being in the Automotive Industry 

This Top Employer (Europe, 400 employees) encourages a ‘healthy living’ culture in their UK offices through various health and wellbeing interventions. For example, it has established ‘walking meetings’ as a popular way for teams to step outside the office, to get creative ideas flowing and to enjoy exercise at the same time. The company also offers fresh fruit to all staff and it has recently launched a social club owned by volunteer employees who are responsible for creating and organising various health-related activities such as yoga, Zumba, running and more. 

Anecdotal feedback suggests the changes have resulted in a better work culture and has broken down some organisational barriers and made communication easier between team members.

Work-life Balance and Well-being in the Business Services Industry 

This Top Employer (Europe, 200 employees) goes a step further than ‘flexible working’ and encourages its employees to manage their time and workload in any way they deem suitable. This means that if an employee finishes their work by 3pm, they are free to go home. Each team member must still deliver their KPIs regardless of how much time they spend in the office. The organisation supports employees in this endeavour by ensuring each employee has access to technology for remote working. Employees also know that their managers do not monitor time spent at the office.

Since this implementation in early 2017, qualitative and anecdotal feedback shows that team members are happier, have a greater sense of freedom and feel more committed to their roles. Limitations for such an approach would include the type of business and job/role. It may not be applicable to all kinds of employees, but rather senior and flexible roles.

Our Conclusion

We are pleased to see that Top Employers are coming up with increasingly imaginative ways to keep their employees happy, healthy and productive. This is positive for the general workforce.  Yet, as much as we are pleased with the best practices we have covered, we also recognise that work-life balance initiatives are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. What works well in one industry or country may not work at all in a different context. Being aware of global trends is important, but ultimately the execution of these initiatives happens at local level. A healthy balance between global approaches and local customisation is key. At the same time, Top Employers will want to benchmark output to be able to track the impact of these initiatives on aspects such as employer branding, employee engagement and ultimately business performance.

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Curious about the previous topic we've discussed in this series of case studies? Gain more insights on Best Practices in Mentoring