Current Trends in Work-Life Issues

In today’s human resource management work/life issues are playing a central role. This is so because according (Kutilek, Conklin, Gunderson) there is the emergence of a different kind of employee in the work place. This kind of employee is more committed to his or her own issues than to their employers. According to (Galinsky & Friedman, 1993) in (Kutilek, Conklin, Gunderson) workers are ready to sacrifice their career in exchange for quality time with their family members.

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Ethically it is the responsibility of the organization to ensure that they improve work life quality of their employees, this is according to Ballou and Godwin. It is therefore the responsibility of the company to provide a work environment that creates a high quality of life. High salaries do not necessarily mean that the quality of life is improved. The company should at least offer such things as child and elder care resources, flextime and career counseling. An effort should be made towards reducing stress that is as a result of balancing individual and company responsibilities. Ethical decisions in an organization are characterized by rules and codes of behavior. In most cases organizations treat their employees unethically but within the bounds of the law. For instance companies are causing their employees a lot of stress and this has been cause for absenteeism at work. Stress disorders are as a result of overwork at the work place. (Coffey Tombari pg 1). Therefore for managers to get the employees commitment they need to ethically recognize the employee needs for work/life. Research has shown that 91% of the people employed tend to behave ethically if there is a good balance between their individual lives and their jobs. (Verschoor p. 13). Employees of a lower rank tend to behave unethically when their superiors behave in a similar way. The major reasons as to why people behave unethically at work are lack of personal integrity and job dissatisfaction.

In any organization the human resource department is significant in the promotion of ethical culture. Ethics do not only apply to the employee of an organization alone; In deed it is the human resource professionals who are in charge of reinforcing what kind of behavior that is valued in the organization. In addition they put punishment systems for punishing errant employees. Past researches show that human resource department is the basic ethics resource for an organization. (Ethics Resource Center). Human Resource department is a strategic partner to business as it is the one that develops ethical culture in a business setting. Apart from developing the ethical policies of a business, human resource department is charged with the duty of planning ethics training programs; coming up with communication related to the organization’s code. In addition human resource personnel use their exit interviews to support and improve the ethical environment.

Corporate social responsibility can be simply described as treating the stakeholders of firm ethically and in a responsible manner. (Fenwick, Bierema, p. 24-35). In social responsibility the company in question considers the interests of the larger society by taking responsibility for the impact of their actions on the consumer,

Shareholder, suppliers, stakeholders, communities and employees. Human resource department plays a central role when it comes to corporate social responsibility. Human resource personnel are supposed to educate their firms on the importance of corporate social responsibility; simultaneously they should execute sound human resource management practice that sustains both the company’s and corporate social responsibility goals. (Lockwood). In corporate social responsibility businesses take up responsibilities that go well beyond the scope of simple commercial relationships.

Spirituality plays a very important role at the work place. Once again the human resource department plays a huge role when it comes to perspectives of spirituality at the work place. Human resource plays a central role in the maintenance of an effective spiritual work place. Employees want more control over their work, personal growth and meaning in their work. According to (Thompson) in (Woodbury p. 27) spirituality is something that is possessed by every body at the work place. Thompson further explains that spirituality comes into play when people decide what is right at the work place. Spirituality therefore is something that is expressed both at an organizational and personal level. It has to do with values, goals and ethics. To an extent spirituality, comments about how a firm should treat people, and the wider community. Spirituality is something that affects individuals; it is therefore personal and informal. (Weston p. 28) in (Woodbury p. 27) spirituality at the work place is likened to values and ethics and thus a very important tool to any organizational success. (Woodbury p. 27) asserts that spirituality in any organization has all the features of good management behavior; where employees be it at a higher or a lower level are valued and respected. In the presence of spirituality, in an organization cooperation is natured and unhealthy competition within the work place is discouraged. Spirituality enhances a friendly environment in an organization; this leads to optimum employee performance in an organization. It is therefore the responsibility of the HR to maintain this friendly environment and to keep the employees happy so as to maintain the optimum performance in an organization. The trick is to find out what makes the workers happy and then providing it. Spirituality also plays a role in the corporate social responsibility; It provides opportunities to those people with poor chances in today’s corporate world that is so demanding. (Marques, Dhiman, king p. 15).

In terms of leadership there should be a balance between leadership and personal growth. Dr. Metzger in (Marques, Dhiman, King p. 15) personal growth is important to attaining gratification and stress free working environment. As a leader, one should take care of his or herself and others; defining and applying themes of personal growth; nourishing his spirit and fulfilling his or her purpose as a leader and finding meaning as a person. So as to build a balance between work and personal life, employees need to have confidence in their corporate leader. Workers who have attained a positive balance between work and personal issues are more likely to give their leaders praises. (Christina Galoozis). For employee performance to be improved there must be good leadership. For leaders to be able to provide a sense of satisfaction to their employees they need to be familiar with their workforce and the unique situation that their organization is operating in.

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Gen x/y is playing a huge role in changing the work life issues. It is evident that generation Y usually has different priorities as compared to generation X. Gen Y want to have fun while still working. What matters to them is a meaningful job in which they feel valued and can still get time to spend with their family. (Boston College.). Teresa Whitacare P.67 acknowledges that there are clashing generations at the work place. For instance the younger generations have a strong need for immediate feed back and like challenges while on the other hand the older generation is out for better work life balance and flexibility in the work place.

References

  1. Ballou and Godwin strategic Finance Quality Of “ Work life”, Have you invested in your Organization’s Future? p.40 2007.
  2. Boston college Work/Life Issues for the Younger Generations2006 Wayne State University 2009.
  3. Christina Galoozis Breaking Entrepreneurial News. Employees View Leadership Through Lens of Work-Life Balance 2005.
  4. Charlie Coffey; Norma Tombari Ivey Business Journal, Improving the Practice of Management The bottom-line for work/life leadership: Linking di-versity and organizational culture. Pg 1, 2005
  5. Ethics Resource Center The Ethics Role Of Human Resources 2009. Ethics Resource center.
  6. Joan Marques Journal of American Academy of Business, HR’S Crucial Role in the Establishment of Spirituality in the work place, 2005.
  7. Joan Marques, Satinder Dhiman, Richard king Event Report. Transform Your Workplace: Do well By Doing Good p.15 2007
  8. Kutilek, Conklin, Gunderson Investing in the Future: Addressing Work/Life Issues of Employees Work/Life Challenges of Today’s Employees (Volume 40 number 1) 2002
  9. Teresa Whitacre Career Corner Managing a Multigenerational Workforce 2007 P.67
  10. Nancy R. Lockwood, Corporate Social Responsibility: HR’S Leadership Role 1800 Duke street 2004
  11. Tara Fenwick, Laura Bierema International Journal of Training and Development.  Corporate social Responsibility: Issues for Human Resource Development Professionals pg 24-35 2008.
  12. Verschoor Strategic Finance, Work-life Balance, Superior’s Actions Strongly Influence Ethical Culture Pg 13 2007
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