Firms introduce work-life balance perks to tempt staff

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Firms introduce work-life balance perks to tempt staff", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 32 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Firms introduce work-life balance perks to tempt staff

Firms introduce work-life balance perks to tempt staff

Keywords: Employee benefits, Employee surveys

UK businesses are offering a range of benefits to help staff with their work-life balance in the face of the highest level of job vacancies for over 20 years, according to a survey carried out by the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD).

The survey of 2,000 people management professionals was carried out by the Reward Group for the IPD. It found that employers are offering a wider range of perks to recruit and retain staff - from family-friendly policies to pet insurance.

Paternity leave is the fastest growing policy to be introduced, with nearly one in ten organizations adopting it within the last 12 months. Nearly three-quarters of respondents' organizations offer part-time working as an option, job sharing is available in 57 per cent of their workplaces and tele-working is offered by a third of respondents.

The prospective legislation on parental leave is also driving organizations to adopt family-friendly policies with 57 per cent of respondents reporting that their organizations offer parental/domestic leave and nearly a quarter saying this has been introduced within the last 12 months.

There is evidence of a newer trend of perks designed to help employees with the practicalities of balancing work and life. These range from dry cleaning facilities (available in 12 per cent of respondents' organizations) to food shopping services (8 per cent) and film/video rental facilities (2 per cent).

Companies are also helping out with some financial services for employees. A total of 25 per cent of organizations surveyed offer financial planning, 10 per cent offer personal car insurance and 3 per cent offer pet insurance.

Stress helplines are growing and are available in 39 per cent of respondents' workplaces, with 5 per cent of the sample saying they have been set up in the last year and health screening is available in 43 per cent of members' organizations.

Significant numbers of employers are also offering staff the options of career breaks (40 per cent of those surveyed) or sabbaticals (24 per cent).

However, child care remains an area where few employers offer on-site options with only one in ten surveyed having a workplace nursery and 2 per cent offering the provision of after-school care.

"In today's tightening labour market, with some sectors battling to recruit and retain the best people, employers are realizing they have to be responsive and inventive in trying to meet employee expectations for flexible benefits that help with their work-life balance", says Nick Isles of the IPD.

The IPD survey report, Benefiting from a Balanced Life, is obtainable free of charge by sending an A4 stamped addressed envelope to: Communications Department, Institute of Personnel and Development, IPD House, Camp Road, London SW19 4UX, UK.

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