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Poll: Work Life Balance Paid Lip Service

SuperUser Account posted on January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011

Fund firms are encouraging a work-life balance for their employees, but only if it doesn’t mean taking on added expenses. That’s according to the results of an Ignites poll that asked readers if their firm encouraged them to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Roughly 70%, or 272 respondents, said their firms advocate for them to have work-life balance. This majority group included 38%, or 148 voters, who indicated that their firms encourage work-life balance, but stop at adding expenses to help employees achieve that, and 32%, or 124 voters, who said support for work-life balance is backed with all the necessary resources.

In contrast, about 30%, or 116 voters, said their firms do not encourage work-life balance for employees. This included 18% who said the concept is simply not addressed, and 12% who said work is encouraged above all else.

Industry observers say fund firms should emphasize work-life balance in order to increase retention and productivity.

“Organizations seeking to improve their competitive edge and profitability are trying to attract the most effective candidates,” says Bill Donnelly, a recruiter and managing consultant at Val Executive Resources Group. “The successful organizations understand that work-life balance has become more important to people and this benefit provides an opportunity to add value.

“A worker who is empowered to manage their life in a proactive way is far more productive, has less distractions and will have greater loyalty to the company,” he adds. “Most of the firms we work with are aware that maintaining a work-life balance has a more positive impact on the employee's overall performance.”

Another career consultant says that some firms may say they are committed to work-life balance for their employees, but are often more concerned with their profits than anything else.

“The reason a company is in business is to maximize revenue,” says Rick Rummage, managing partner at career consultancy The Rummage Group. “So they really don’t want people to have work-life balance, even though they say they do; they’d rather the person work longer hours, and they want profits.

 “They do give some lip service to work-life balance, but at the end of the day, the people who are in the office the longest hours and participated in any type of networking event are the ones who will get promoted,” Rummage adds.

Still, Rummage says companies understand the value of work-life balance when an employee gets burnt out on the job.

“They also don’t want people who spend 90 hours a week at the office and are miserable,” he adds. “There is a good side to encouraging work-life balance. The [individual’s] productivity at the office is pretty low, so if a company could get a person to truly work eight hours a day and then go home and be with their family, that [routine] would be a good thing.”

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 388 Ignites subscribers had participated in the poll, which is an unscientific sampling of the publication’s subscribers. Readers could vote only once on a voluntary basis. Ignites’s audience consists of financial advisors, money managers and service providers.