As an international HR manager there is a lot you can directly impact when it comes to the employee experience. You are key to so many areas from onboarding to ensuring the business is following employment and OHS regulations. An area like work-life balance can appear more abstract or feel like it falls into the remit of individual teams. However, there is a lot HR can do to encourage employees to find the work-life balance that works for them including:
1. Flexible working
Flexible working is often mentioned as one of the better ways to encourage work-life balance but this is for good reason. Almost 90% of HR professionals found an increase in employee retention just by implementing more flexible working arrangements. Even if your business feels it already offers flexible working, it may be an area worth revisiting when considering those kind of statistics during a global skills shortage. If your business is offering hybrid working and flexible start and finish times has it considered:
- Job sharing
- Compressed hours
- Part time hours
- Staggered hours
All ways to show employees work-life balance is important to you.
2. Health Insurance
If you offer employees health insurance ensure there are mental health supports so employees can get help if they are struggling with work-life balance. If you have employees on expat assignment, all our international health insurance policies offer an expat assistance programme with multi-lingual professionals who can help expats with any issues or concerns they may have 24/7 every day of the year.
3. Annual Leave
Ensure employees are using their annual leave. In the US more than half of employees don’t use their vacation days, even though most have significantly fewer than other parts of the world. If your employees are not taking their annual leave entitlement, investigate why. Taking a break has been shown to make employees more productive. Employees who take their annual leave entitlement were found to be 40% more productive than those that didn’t.
Regular breaks are important when it comes to work-life balance. Although work is primarily about reaching business goals, taking breaks to have fun and build relationships with colleagues not only makes the working day more enjoyable but also makes us more productive. HR can support colleagues in taking breaks by banning food at desks while in the office and providing dedicated break out rooms.
5. Offer volunteer days
The millennials that now make up the working majority around the world are motivated by social action. Not all time away from the office has to be personal. Enabling employees to make a difference through volunteering improves their opinion of themselves and your organisation.
6. Create right to disconnect code of practice
Flexible working hours may mean some employees are contacting others outside of their chosen working hours. Ensure no one feels obligated to work when they had not planned to with a ‘right to disconnect code of practice’ so employees do not routinely have to work outside of their standard hours.
7. Lead by example
Finally ensure senior management are setting a good example by leaving the office/logging off on time and using their annual leave. In many organisation’s management behaviour sets the tone for employees at every level so this is really key to supporting employees to find work-life balance.