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Tackling the Work-Life Balance Debate

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Tackling the Work-Life Balance Debate

Work-life balance is in demand and an increasing number of people joining the workforce today have an expectation for it.

This is apparently particularly true of so-called ‘millennials’ who are looking for ways to better manage their professional lives and, according to Forbes.com, will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025.

When we hosted a discussion about building a positive employer brand, in partnership with Acara Solutions at our Toronto office, work-life balance was one of the topics of conversation that drove a lot of discussion across the room.

Here’s a snapshot of three key takeaways from our panelists.

Define what work-life balance means for you.

“We like flexibility, but we're in hyper growth mode and we want people to be in the office, we want to hire people who feel a synergy being in the office.” - Trevor McIntosh Head of Talent and Culture, Zensurance

Over the years the concept of work-life balance has evolved. As such, it can be challenging for businesses to create an environment that appeals to the preferences of all staff.

Those looking to offer it, must first define what it looks like in their organization in order to respond to expectations.

Offering flexible working hours, or working from home opportunities are some of the ways companies can establish work-life balance but that doesn’t work for every brand and every role. In order to make policies around working arrangements fair, businesses need to start by mapping out exactly what they can and cannot offer, to ensure there’s no confusion or misinterpretation from employees.

Understand the candidate profile you’re looking for.

“It really comes down to identifying what the profile of the candidate looks like and interviewing against that.” - Cindy Kociuba, Head of Talent Rangle.io

Companies have to consider what type of workplace they offer employees and the type of people who will succeed in that environment.

Identifying a candidate persona can help to clearly understand what type of candidates will succeed in an organization. Smartrecruiters’ guide to identifying candidate profiles offers four steps to narrow down the ideal candidate. Pinpointing their interests, using internal stakeholders and narrowing down the culture fit are all great starting points for being able to attract and hire the talent that will perform best in the environment and arrangements on offer.

Fill the generation gap.

“In a world immersed in technology, there’s lots of ways to have a dynamic exchange.” - Jodi Levy, Associate Director of Global Talent Acquisition

Generational differences in the workplace can make it difficult to establish ways of working that suit everyone.

According to a publication from Concordia University, the multi-generational workplace presents communication challenges. Baby boomers prefer face-to-face interactions rather than digital communication, as opposed to Gen Y and Gen X who thrive on electronic communication.

So, while some might expect their colleagues to be in the office to attend meetings, others would prefer to join remotely in order to support their own personal arrangements. Being adaptive to all preferences and adopting online tools, such as Zoom and Slack, as communication platforms is key to establishing a culture that promotes a work-life balance.

There will always be different opinions on work-life balance and they will evolve with cultural, economic and social changes. Companies need to revisit this concept on an ongoing basis in order to ensure their culture is in line with both business needs and the needs of their employees.

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