As the countdown to midnight on 31 December ushered in 2016, it also brought with it an abrupt shift in focus for the lifestyle pages in glossy magazines and the advertising campaigns that herald the start of another year. Gone are the calls for festive indulgences, luxurious treats and celebration; instead it’s all about ‘new year, new you!’
Or, perhaps of more concern to those employers doing their utmost to retain top talent, ‘new year, new you, new job?’
Around a third (30%) of HR director respondents believe employees leave an organisation in search of a better work-life balance, compared to 27% who cite higher remuneration, including salary, bonus and benefits, as a key motivator for change, according to research by Robert Half UK, published in August 2015. With almost one in 10 (8%) new starters leaving a new role because of poor work-life balance, according to research by CV Library, published in November 2015, this is clearly an issue to consider when developing an effective attraction and retention strategy.
Interestingly, 12% of respondents to a YouGov survey, published in January 2015, included achieving a better work-life balance among their new year resolutions, a greater number than those attempting to give up smoking (5%) and reduce alcohol consumption (11%). Striving for a positive work-life balance was particularly high on the agenda for those in London (19%) and among younger respondents; 21% of 18-24 year olds, and 19% of 25-34 year olds, dropping to 12% of 45-54 year olds.
There is, then, scope for aligning employees’ personal goals with the business benefits of work-life balance. Fostering a workplace culture that supports flexibility and encourages employees’ interests outside of the office, could not only reduce recruitment costs, but also enhance motivation and engagement levels.
Making workloads more manageable and ensuring that staff have time to unwind and relax, can also have a positive impact on employee health and wellbeing, not to mention the knock-on effect on absenteeism, presenteeism and productivity.
Just 10% of respondents in the YouGov survey manage to fulfil their new year resolutions, while 32% usually break their’s by the end of January.
Perhaps by collectively committing to a better work-life balance, employers and employees will have a better chance of seeing the resolution through to the end of 2016 and beyond.