WORK-LIFE BALANCE INITIATIVE AS A PREDICTOR OF EMPLOYEES' BEHAVIOURAL OUTCOMES.

Author:Oludayo, O.A.
Position::Report
 
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INTRODUCTION

The rate of change in the socio-economic landscape has largely redefined the nature of work and the workplace. The expectations of employees from their jobs have gone beyond meeting their daily survival needs as a desire for balance between work and non- work obligations have taken the lead. Therefore, the meaningful employment helps to support one's self and others; this will enable employees to derive a high sense of self-worth from doing a job very well particularly in the banking industry (Latessa, 2012). The importance of work is a very crucial activity in human lives since it defines the identity of individuals and what they stand for in any society (Budd, 2011). Consequently, work is a purposeful human activity involving physical or mental exertion that is not undertaken solely for pleasure and that has economic and symbolic value. NICE (2009) asserts that the importance of work is expressed in the promotion of employees' mental wellbeing. The increasing demand in the workplace particularly in the banking industry coupled with multiple obligations outside the work environment has placed a vital responsibility on the managers of organizations to find ways to balance out the priorities of their employees.

As noted by State Service Commission (2005), work-life balance initiatives in organizations is concerned with employees' interaction between paid and unpaid work activities, leisure and personal development. This will make organizations to create a productive work culture where traces of work-life conflict are minimized and effectively controlled. Similarly, work-life balance is attained where there are shared benefits for employees and the organization (Mesimo-Ogunsanya, 2017; Rajiv & Kumar, 2015). It is about helping employees to maintain healthy, rewarding lifestyles that will in turn lead to improvements in performance (Grimm, 2017). Driving the work-life balance practice has become a joint responsibility between employer and employee. It is no longer a role that resides within the Human Resource department as all line managers are responsible for seeing to the balance of their staff. In his view, Valcour (2003) explains the work life support under two major types: formal and informal. The formal support policies to include; dependent care initiatives, time policies as expressed in flexible work arrangements and the work-leave programme. On the other hand, he mentioned managerial or supervisor support and co-worker support to be informal support policies (Dolcos, 2007; Nuesch, 2017). The informal work-family support according to Ferrero (2014) is an expression of organizational leaders' commitment to the employees' well-being in accordance with the social exchange theory. This will most likely affect the employees' behavioral outcomes i.e. increase in employees' job satisfaction and minimization in turnover intention when top officials in the workplace become interested in employees' well-being (Falola et al., 2016; Kumar, 2017). This will provide stimulation for motivation, energy and willingness to learn new skills as well as cultivating habits that will promote the organization's efficiency through managerial support (Kossek, 2012). Emhan (2012) views managerial support for employees to contribute positively to an organization's effectiveness. Since the employees perceive the top managers as the organization itself, as such any support coming from their end is considered the organization's support thereby increasing the level of loyalty employees have. The focus of this study is to assess the rate at which work-life balance initiatives influence employee job related attitude and their turnover intentions in the Nigerian Banking Sector.

The concept of work-life balance (WLB) has been advocated for prime inclusion in the workplace, particularly in banking industry in Nigeria. The dimensions of work- life balance and it influence on employees behavioral outcomes has not been clearly established in the literature. The expectations of this inclusion are that it will ensure employee well-being and improved organizational productivity. The presence of work-life balance programmes and initiatives also ensure that workers are able to fulfill their work and non-work goals without robbing each domain of the required attention it deserves. However, due to the increasing and dynamic needs arising from employees at various levels, it is difficult to administer a particular policy or approach in tackling these issues since various individuals are unique in their response to policy formulation, engagement and implementation. At the instance where employees do not seem satisfied with the job or workplace, some of the issues that would be recorded would include: turnover intentions, absenteeism and other job-related attitudes (Kodikal, 2017). In addition, work-life balance practices could have disadvantages ranging from lack of communication, no distinction between home and work to the trouble encountered in adjusting the policies during new management but advocates that the advantages outweigh the demerits (Heath field, 2016). It is on this premise that this study seeks to exam this dilemma as espoused in many unacceptable workplace behaviors by exploring the role of work-life balance initiatives in achieving the balance that guarantee productive employee engagement, satisfaction and commitment to work and non-work obligations. In other to achieve this objective, the first sections discuss the conceptual framework, theoretical framework, research methods and research model while data analysis, discussion of the findings conclusions and limitations are discussed in the last sections.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Work-Life Balance as a Concept

Resulting from the changes in the workplace over the years, the need for a balance between an employee's work and personal life should be struck. The Work-Life Balance (WLB) concept is designed to increase work predictability and career sustainability. Paryani (2014) opined that WLB and stress are intertwined concepts. Biron, Cooper & Burke (2014) assert that the WLB concept in organization should include training programmes and time management even though they come with several consequences such as family conflict, job stress and depression. To them, job stress may arise from direct demands of work and its load or interactions with colleagues or even work conflicts as well as non-work priorities which has a ripple effect of ill-health, drug abuse, depression and ultimately death. The WLB concept will only work effectively where there are well-framed policies that would minimize the workload of employee without affecting the productivity of the organization (Ojo, Salau & Falola, 2014). It is therefore important to note that the WLB subject is wide and all encompassing.

In a related development, Greenhaus (1985) defined WLB to be the satisfaction and good functioning at work with minimum role conflict. The WLB concept covers both the men and female security in terms of job security. Work-life balance to be the general satisfaction with an individual's life as against the notion that WLB is the equal distribution of time between professional and personal activities (Berry, 2010). Ashkenas (2012) noted that no one has taken into consideration the role that limitations arising from the digital age plays in the work-life integration. WLB concerns itself with gaining control over work time and leisure. Fitzapatrick (2013) opined that the WLB concept which usually misunderstood doesn't happen by chance rather it occurs based on a well-organized plan.

Work-Life Balance Policies

Bloom & Van Reenen (2006) assert that firms adopting better WLB policies are the ones who enjoy the benefits accruing to the concept. Paryani (2014) opined that work life policies can improve the level of job satisfaction and increase organizational commitment among their employees. WLB policies are usually referred to in practice as 'flexible working' having different forms of operations such as: part-time working, job sharing, term-time working, shift working, annualized hours, compressed hours, teleporting/e-working, home working, career breaks, study leave, zero hours contracts and V-Time (Paryani, 2014). The essence of the work time policies is to ensure there is a balance between employment and non-work duties that are beneficial to both the employer and employee with the most effective policies being those established after a dialogue between the employer and employee (Ojo, Falola & Mordi, 2014). A number of scholars have different categories in which they classify the WLB policies. Morgan & Milliken (1992) classified them into three: the provision of careers' arrangements, alternative work arrangements and offsite working arrangements. Lobel & Kossek (1996) categorized the concept under four categories based on time based, information based, money based and direct services. Glass & Finley (2002) also named three classifications of the WLB policies as: parental leave, alternative work arrangements and employer supported child care. The successful formulation, execution and implementation of WLB policies usually rely on the awareness of top management and the organization's culture. In recent times, there has been a concise and encompassing view of the WLB initiative. Oludayo, Gberevbie, Popoola & Omonijo (2015) broadly mentioned the initiatives according to the challenges employees face which include: Time usage policies as expressed by flextime, telecommuting, job sharing and part-time work; Leave policies in organizations to cover paid and unpaid leaves for childbirth, the care of young and other matters of importance requiring personal attention; Dependent care policies which covers resource and referral services to support child or elder care and; Counseling and Wellness initiative which include assistance programmes (EAP), wellness programmes, financial counseling, relocation...

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