SOURCE: Kelly Services

Kelly Services

November 17, 2015 10:17 ET

Best Talent Seeks Greater Ownership of Work-Life Design, the Seamless Integration of Work and Life

TROY, MI--(Marketwired - Nov 17, 2015) - Research from Kelly Services® (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB) finds that in this era of talent supply chain management, talent has a choice of where and how to work. And the best talent is looking for greater control and ownership over work-life design -- the seamless integration of work and life -- as evidenced by the 31 percent of global workers who choose flexible work styles over traditional employment arrangements.

"Historically, people were taught that they had to sacrifice in order to have a good job, and that it was the responsibility of the worker to arrange life around work," said Teresa Carroll, senior vice president and general manager, Global Talent Solutions for Kelly Services, a global leader in providing workforce solutions. "But today increasing numbers of people are saying, 'I've watched how my parents and my grandparents did that and I don't want that life. What I want is a life that has work-life balance.' For them, work-life balance means that they are capable of arranging work around life."

At the core of the work-life design movement is a work environment that acknowledges workers as individuals with priorities outside the workplace. The essence of work-life design is developing an organization's capacity to innovate its talent management programs to attract and retain top talent who have a broad and ever-evolving set of needs.

"Clearly, the hallmarks of successful companies are those that employ a holistic approach to talent, integrating many different types of labor categories into the work environment and culture as a way to get an edge on talent management efforts," said Carroll. "However, there is no one formula for the perfect work-life design environment or approach. Successful programs have to consider individuals -- their life stages and life styles, as well as the corporate culture."

The Kelly Services research finds that 63 percent of today's workers look to flexible work arrangements such as remote/telecommuting work options and flexible schedules or hours as a driver of work-life design. But they also achieve and/or aspire to work-life design through myriad other elements as well. These include:

  • Work governance - employer-driven restrictions to protect the worker from "work creep" into personal space. For example, 37 percent of workers want limitations or restrictions on working beyond typical business hours, 23 percent want encouragement from their employer to utilize all of their vacation time and 17 percent want limitations or restrictions on email communications at night, on weekends or during vacations.
  • Personal realization and empowerment - meaningful work that promotes personal passion and innovation via rejuvenation. More than 80 percent believe that their skills and knowledge will need to evolve and grow in order to keep up with industry changes, and 37 percent seek opportunities to work on innovative projects or initiatives during work hours.
  • Workplace culture - a corporate culture and reputation extending to employer-brand development that attracts top, diverse talent and "walking the talk" to retain them. Nearly 60 percent value a highly collaborative environment and cross-functional teams, and 37 percent want a fostered environment of friendships in the workspace.
  • Life style/stage amenities - nontraditional amenities that support workers at various life stages and with diverse life styles. Wellness programs, cafeteria-style amenities and benefits, and childcare/caregiver support programs are among the amenities workers value most.

"Work-life design requires employers and employees to renegotiate the terms of how they view and rely on each other, to work within their mutual interdependence," Carroll added. "Workers need to invest more in their own development, while employers need to recognize that workers have priorities outside of the workplace. If they do, engagement in the form of loyalty, discretionary effort and commitment rises, and these are the workers organizations want to keep. If they don't, organizations risk turnover of top, engaged critical talent, narrow the range of talent they can attract and compromise performance and innovation."

The presence of a generation used to getting what it wants is already being felt in the workplace. More than one in three American workers are Millennials, now representing the largest generational group in the workforce, and one in four are already in management roles.

"At the same time that their professional responsibilities are increasing, Millennials are becoming parents, and they are looking for the benefits of improved work-life design, sometimes willing to take a pay cut to get it," said Carroll.

Kelly Services found that 89 percent of Millennials feel work-life design elements are an important contributing factor to satisfaction and happiness in the workplace. But 44 percent say work-life balance has gotten harder to achieve in the last five years due to responsibilities at home. Not making things any easier, 78 percent of Millennials have a spouse or partner who also works full time, compared to 73 percent of Gen X and just 47 percent of Baby Boomers, according to a 2014 EY Global Generation study.

"As the expectations of a generation of workers change, the workplace must change and adapt as well, if it wants to attract and retain those workers," Carroll added.

Many companies are building up work-life design elements in their attraction and retention efforts. For example, to retain and attract talent in areas where there are shortages, such as IT, engineering and high-level management, large global companies are instituting family-friendly benefits -- unprecedented in the United States, where only 12 percent of workers in the private sector have access to paid family leave, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Among them:

  • Accenture automatically enrolls new parents into a "no-travel" program for the first year of their children's lives.
  • Facebook's culture strongly encourages all parents - mothers and fathers - to take the offered four months of family leave, an employee benefit in effect early in its inception.
  • Microsoft nearly doubled to 20 weeks its paid leave for women who have just given birth, tripled paid leave for all other new parents (12 weeks for fathers) and began offering them the chance to ease back into work half-time.
  • Adobe Systems significantly increased paid leave to 26 paid maternity and 16 weeks paid paternity for birth and adoptive parents.
  • Goldman Sachs doubled its paid paternity leave to four weeks.
  • Google gives mothers 18 weeks leave, primary caregivers 12 weeks and other caregivers seven, fully paid with stock vesting and benefits.
  • Bank of America offers up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave and allows another 14 unpaid weeks for new parents.
  • Netflix offers fully paid leave to both parents for an entire year after a baby's birth.
  • IBM and Accenture said they would ship breast milk home for nursing mothers traveling for work.
  • Nestlé expanded its paid maternity leave to 14 weeks from six.
  • Reddit offers 16 weeks of paid leave during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child that must be taken in a minimum of two-week intervals.

Kelly Services, Inc.
As a global leader in providing workforce solutions, Kelly Services, Inc. and its subsidiaries, offer a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Kelly® has a role in managing employment opportunities for more than one million workers around the globe by employing 550,000 of these individuals directly with the remaining workers engaged through its talent supply chain network of supplier partners. Revenue in 2014 was $5.6 billion. Visit and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.