well as by offering culture support that empowers a healthy work-life
Many employers hear “less work” when they hear “work-life
balance.” But the focus Millennials place on work-life balance
doesn’t mean they’re lazy or unambitious – the opposite is true.
Work-life “fit” is a positive term that ensures the values of
the organization are demonstrated via its culture, and the belief
structure of senior management is felt at all levels of the orga-nization.
The Society for Human Resources Management, the
American Psychological Association and Deloitte have all adopted
“The word ‘balance’ is something you want but can never have,”
said Cali Williams Yost, a flexible work culture strategist, in a
New York Times article. The term “balance” makes it sound like all
employee needs are the same, when in fact, there’s no perfect 50-50
split between work and life.
Work-life fit embraces diversity, acknowledging everyone has a
unique work-life fit that allows them to get their work done and
manage life in a productive way.
Flexible work was vital for Millennials in both the 2016 and 2017
Deloitte Millennial surveys. In fact, 34 per cent of Millennials have
quit their jobs because work flexibility wasn’t an option, according
to a FlexJobs survey.
Sixty-four per cent of employees now have “flexible locations” –
up 21 per cent from 2016. This reflects how quickly technology
is facilitating mobile working and how employers are becoming
more comfortable with flexible options.
Not all companies, though, are on board with it. Yahoo, IBM
and other big companies recently eliminated their telecommut-ing
programs. This move has been seen as an attempt to improve
creative collaboration and compete with innovative, younger start-ups,
that, ironically, see telecommuting as a given.
Despite the pushback from some companies, offering flexi-ble
work remains a crucial way to attract and retain top talent.
Companies that do so give their employees the opportunity to find
their ideal work-life fit.
THE MILLENNIAL MINDSET
This new flexible attitude towards work is not limited to Millennials.
Adam Henderson, founder of Millennial Mindset, points out that
technology has caused this dramatic shift in behaviour.
Technology has had a massive impact on our everyday personal
and work lives – affecting people of all ages. Millennials grew up
with technology so they saw early on how it frees them to work
productively from anywhere, while older generations may be
slower to realize the benefits.
There’s a gap between how modern employees want to work,
compared to how they’re being asked to work. To bridge that gap
and attract and retain talent, companies need to understand the
Millennial mindset and create the ideal work environment.
FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH
One in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem in
a given year, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health. There’s no denying anxiety and depression are much more
prevalent today than in previous eras. Managers are thus increas-ingly
expected to take an active role when it comes to mental
health in the workplace.
For example, an email exchange between Madelyn Parker, a web
developer from Olark Live Chat, and her company’s CEO recently
went viral. Parker let her coworkers know she needed some time
off to focus on her mental health, and her CEO Ben Congleton
“You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma
so we can all bring our whole selves to work every day,” he wrote.
It’s more important than ever to enable your employees to bring
their best selves – physically and emotionally – to work every day.
And not all mental health issues are disabilities – some are just
conditions that individuals live with and need to manage.
“Mental health isn’t just mental illness – it’s part of being
human,” said Julia Nguyen, a software engineer at Indiegogo in
San Francisco, in a Global News article.
In supporting employees’ mental health, the main question to
ask is, “What do my employees need to remain productive?”
THE NEED TO ADAPT
It’s only going to get harder to attract and retain young talent. To
survive in this competitive landscape, companies need to adapt.
When it comes to total compensation management, customiza-tion
is the answer. Millennials especially want control over their
compensation – offering customization shows you care enough
about your employees to treat them as individuals.
No matter their age, today’s modern employees embrace tech-nology
as it allows them to work whenever and wherever they’re
Likewise, employers should focus less on free beer and Ping-
Pong, and more on using technology to offer flexible work
arrangements and compensation packages. n
Darwyne Lang is the president and CEO of Apri Insurance Services Inc.
WHEN IT COMES TO TOTAL
CUSTOMIZATION IS THE ANSWER.
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32 ❚ MARCH 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL