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Work/Life Balance Programs to Increase Employee Engagement

While creating a high-performing workforce starts with a progressive hiring process – by including problem-solving, customer service, and conflict management skills as part of the selection process – it doesn’t end there.  Creating a culture of support and mutual respect with carefully designed programs to allow employees to balance their work responsibilities with life responsibilities can positively impact employee performance, retention, and overall engagement.

A recent PeercastTM featuring a $10B+ global company with over 25,000 employees in the Pharmaceutical and Health Care Services industry, examined how they were able to achieve a 15% reduction in headcount over a 6-year period while at the same time their volume of business was supported by Shared Services increased by 100%.   Success came from creating a culture of continuous improvement using highly motivated employees who responded positively to a range of employee-friendly programs.  Here are a few examples:

·        Onsite services include a childcare center (not subsidized), a fitness center (subsidized), dry cleaning services, onsite ATMs, and take-home-dinners available for purchase from the cafeteria.

·        Benefits plans that include health and wellness, domestic partner coverage, adoption subsidies, family or parenting leave of absence, and counseling services.

·        Flexible work schedules including four-day workweeks, rotating schedules, and flexible workday start times.

·        Permanent part-time positions and job sharing with benefits for employees who work half-time.

·        The ability to schedule to work remotely for a portion of the week, and upon request to meet personal commitments.

One key enabler to the success of these programs at the featured company is the use of a self-directed work team structure in the Shared Services organization.  This structure gives small groups of employees the autonomy to balance their schedules with the current workload and ensure that all team objectives are consistently achieved.

A related iPollingTM question asked member companies to indicate the percentage of employees in Shared Services who are eligible for flexible work arrangements.  The results indicate that members are most likely to either embrace or reject this approach, with 48% reporting that 80% or more are eligible, and 43% reporting that the eligibility is either less than 20% or is none.   Here are the details:

ipolling results on shared services employees eligibility on flexible work arrangements work/life balance

 Here are a few of the comments from iPolling participants:

·        The thinking of our senior leadership is that the positions in shared service are more geared to a junior person and therefore need more oversight. Not everyone on the leadership team agrees with this position.

·        We have had great success with our flexible work program.

·        The team is offered flexible work hours and some have the ability to work from home time to time; however, not on a regular basis.

·        With the exception of employees who have responsibility for leading teams (for example, supervisors and managers), all employees are eligible to participate.

·        Telecommuting is limited to specific departments and functions within our organization. For the departments that allowed telecommuting, more than 50% of the workforce takes advantage of it.

·        We currently do not offer flexible schedules in our shared service center. There is a desire for it, but management at this time does not support it.

·        Refining this capability has enabled our Global Shared Services organization to meet business requirements in the event of snowstorms, floods, and other violent storms.


How high performing is your Shared Services workforce?  Are your Shared Services employees eligible for flexible work arrangements?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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