Does work-life balance matter more than pay?

Top talent might demand top dollar, but an employer’s respect for their downtime is priceless

Does work-life balance matter more than pay?
If your company promises a great work-life balance, yet the boss works 12-hour days, don’t be surprised if talent is put off.

In the current ultra-competitive hiring market, respecting your employees’ desire for flexibility and meaningful downtime is priceless – especially if a candidate could get greater compensation elsewhere.

Dianne Hunnam-Jones, a district director with Robert Half, says employers themselves need to flexible about deliver what staff and candidates are seeking.

“If you don’t, you will end up losing your great talent for something as simple as a half hour early every day,” she warns.

Companies should avoid being overly prescriptive about their rules, because not every worker will want a shorter day: some might one Friday off a month, or to work from home every now and then.

As well as thinking about how flexibility will attract talent, Hunnam-Jones says employers should also consider how it helps “re-recruit” existing staff.

“You have to retain them, that’s very important. Going back to your current employees who you really, truly value and having that sit-down, one-on-one conversation – what does culture mean to you, what’s going to keep you at the organization, what’s important to you?

“It could be very different for each person, but having that open conversation to re-recruit and retain your current staff.”

Selling an employee experience that doesn’t match the reality will quickly cause your workers to look elsewhere – and Hunnam-Jones emphasizes that the example should be set by HR and those at the top of the company.

“There’s nothing like having a policy [such as] ‘everybody gets to work flexible hours’, and the manager’s in at 8 and doesn’t leave till 6.

“Any manager in an organization has an obligation to set the example to unplug, to show their teams what it is to have a work-life balance, particularly if it’s a culture you’re trying to instill in your organization.”

Related links:
How to prevent employee burnout
Should staff be trusted with unlimited annual leave?

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