<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Measure Whether Our Work-Life Programs Make Employees More Productive
August 31, 2009
Dear Keeping Our Balance: There are many ways to study the quality of work/life for employees at your company, and it is well worth the effort. Satisfaction with work/life is highly correlated with employee engagement, which in turn boosts productivity and retention. We recommend a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to study work/life. On the qualitative side, it's informative to have small focus groups of employees identify the challenges they face in managing work and home life, and to learn what kinds of things your company can do to help them be more effective. It is also very insightful to speak with managers to find out how work/life issues affect the unit's ability to meet business needs. Although qualitative information is drawn from a limited number of employees, it provides a great deal of depth and insight into the way work/life issues play out for your workforce. Surveys are an excellent way to gather information on employees' work/life issues because they are more systematic than qualitative methods. Well-constructed surveys enable you to probe issues affecting your employees, helping you develop a strategy for addressing them. At a basic level, the survey can provide demographic data to understand the number of your workers who have child and/or elder care responsibilities, and the types of difficulties they face in managing those responsibilities. It is very important to look at different populations in your workforce to find out how work/life challenges differ and how solutions should be tailored. You can also use surveys to gauge whether employees perceive your company as being supportive of their out-of-work needs. This information could be used as a baseline against which future progress can be mapped. Productivity might be measured in concrete ways such as meeting sales goals, number of customer calls fielded or number of claims processed. If your company has many branches or stores, it may be possible to use productivity and profitability measures that your company already tracks. Often companies will use employee self-reported data when more objective measures of productivity are not readily available. Other measures include events you wish to minimize, such as absenteeism and attrition. Once you can identify reasonable measures of productivity for your various employee groups, you can examine the impact of work/life quality and utilization of work/life programs. SOURCE: Jan T. Civian, senior consultant, WFD Consulting, Newton, Massachusetts LEARN MORE: Find out what to do when your work/life programs fail to deliver. The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.