Work-life balance and overall wellbeing are increasingly becoming top priorities by employers, but might be inversely dependent on how much you earn. Two separate studies that came out last week seem to point to the conclusions that organisations are sitting up and making an effort to ensure the well-being of their employees, and also, that work-life balance seems to matter less to those who earn more. Let’s take a look at both of them.
Work-life balance matter less as you earn more: Glassdoor Study
A new report by Glassdoor suggests that as pay increases, the value of achieving work-life balance becomes increasingly less important for employees. In fact, as found by the study, it was one of the least important factor contributing to overall satisfaction levels for highly-paid employees. The US-based study established that workers earning between $40,000 and $120,000, were willing to sacrifice their leisure time in order to work harder. Additionally, compensation and benefits packages also became of lesser value as incomes grew. To those earning high incomes, the factors that mattered the most to job satisfaction were culture and values, senior leadership, career opportunities and business outlook, in that order.
The report also states that lower-income employees (those earning less than $40,000 annually), were more concerned with a positive business outlook, work-life balance, followed by compensation and benefits packages, whereas those earning more prioritized factors that were important for long-term growth, and harder to measure.
Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist, Glassdoor, says, “The stereotype of the high-paid attorney working 70 hours a week is a real thing... Increasingly, it is less about time off and more about the characteristics of the job... The best investment to build a better workplace can be in the culture of the company, and making managers better and creating career opportunities.”
Employee well-being top priority of Employers: Virgin Pulse survey
Employee wellness and engagement programs are fast becoming the number one priority for employers worldwide, a recent survey from Virgin Pulse, a wellness and engagement company, found. Interestingly, the survey also shows that the integration of such priorities in the culture of an organisation seems to be a big challenge. Over 600 HR and benefits leaders were surveyed, and 78% of them said that wellness is a key component of their business strategy, whereas 87% said that they currently invest, or plan to invest, in employee wellbeing. However, 97% of them admit that wellbeing positively influences employee engagement.
Furthermore, 88% of the respondents realised the value of wellness and engagement programs, but were not totally clear on which type of programmes should be offered, and how to go about them. Only about 30% affirmed that they have a specific engagement program in place to suit the needs of their organization. 41% admitted to being in the initial stages to defining employee engagement. Additionally, 48% of the respondents believe that resistance to change workplace cultures are the biggest obstacles to implement an effective wellness and engagement program. The report also warned that incentives, in isolation, cannot drive employee engagement, and organisations need to do a lot more to effectively ensure the well-being of their employees, and keep them engaged.
The authors of the study say, “In general, employees feel engaged when they are invested in their company’s future and feel like their jobs give them a sense of purpose and have great relationships with their co-workers. Health and wellbeing – physical, mental, financial and emotional – also affect employee engagement, and the majority of organizations realize that connection... Before designing programs to increase employee engagement, organizations must first acknowledge that employee wellbeing, workplace culture and engagement all connect and influence each other.
The two studies show important viewpoints of the employee and the employers towards well-being and work-life balance. Although separate concepts, they are intimately connected. On the one hand, where employers are slowly, but surely, realising that a happy, healthy and content employee is their biggest asset, employees seem to be willing to bargain work-life balance for better pay. While the former is a welcome development, the latter might prove dangerous. Employees who are paid more need to consciously acknowledge the fact that they are done so because of what they bring to the table – experience, skill, talent or value – and must not be expected to trade of better pay with work-life balance. Cultures and workplace habits that are detrimental to work-life balance need to be checked effectively, by the participation of both the employee, and the employer, in order to actually achieve work-life balance.