Employees hoping for better work-life balance

New research reveals 83% of Australians are hoping to improve their work-life balance in 2011 on the back of a demanding work year in 2010.


The Workmonitor Mobility Index, published four times a year by recruitment company Randstad, tracks employee confidence and measures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next six months.


The latest study shows that despite Australian employees’ exhaustion from work demands in 2010, most employees have confidence in their organisations.


According to the study, 76% of Australians believe their employer is tracking well, and 65% are confident their organisation will continue to grow.


Deb Loveridge, chief executive of Randstad Asia Pacific, says the perceived strength of organisations – when compared with the high percentage of employees wanting a better work-life balance – suggests employee pressure in 2010 may have been underestimated.


“While businesses in Australia clearly found the last 12 months extremely challenging… employees shouldered a significant burden, sacrificing their social, personal and family life to ensure their employers continued doing business,” Loveridge says.


According to Loveridge, this is particularly true of start-ups as employees are typically more invested in the business on both an emotional and financial basis.


Loveridge says employees are looking to restore balance to their lives in the New Year, and employers should respond to this.


“Employers would be well advised to encourage and facilitate a better blend of work and life, otherwise they risk losing their best assets – their people,” she says.


“Meeting and surpassing employee expectations will be crucial if you want to retain your top talent in the business and remain competitive.”


Cannon Recruitment managing director Vicki Crowe says in order to meet and surpass employee expectations, employers must maintain open lines of communication in order to “understand your people and what’s important to them.”


With regard to staff retention strategies, it appears salaries are less important than flexible work hours, with the study revealing 57% of Australian employees are expecting an increase on their base salary at their next review.


The study also shows only 44% are expecting a promotion, which Loveridge says is not surprising as a promotion could compromise an employee’s quest for a greater work-life balance.


“As people seek to restore work-life balance, the response of employers will play a large part in determining their ability to retain and attract talent in a tightening labour market,” she says.


“The winners in 2011 will be those organisations with the right people in the right jobs, motivated and ready to grow the business.”


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