Mastering the challenge of implementing work-life policies

by Sven Schmitt (Author) Holger Klose (Author)

Term Paper 2008 16 Pages

Business economics - Personnel and Organisation


Table of content

Management Summary

Table of content

1 Introduction
1.1 The development of WL (Work-Life) -Programs
1.2 Custom development path
1.3 Change -Management

2 The implementation decision
2.1 Family Responsible Company Development Model ± Status of implementation
2.1.1 Policies
2.1.2 Practices
2.1.3 Organizational Culture
2.1.4 Enablers

3 The family responsible company development model
3.1 Stage D
3.2 Stage C
3.3 Stage B
3.4 Stage A
3.4.1 Examples

4 The allowance decision
4.1 What is the allowance decision?
4.2 Risk of unequal treatment
4.3 Factors influencing the allowance decision
4.3.1 Individual level
4.3.2 Group level
4.3.3 Organisational level

5 Conclusion

6 List of literature

Management Summary

Implementing Work Life Balance policies is essential in order to move an organization towards a rising level of acceptance and allowance among both-workforce and man-agement.

The implementation is a slow and steady process. It requires commitment, motivation and staying power. While developing a work-life program, the major decisions which have to be made are those dealing with implementation and the individual allowance.

As an approach to accomplish this challenging change process, the Family Responsible Company Development Model provides a structured foundation by differing 4 stages a company has to face until reaching its final objective of being an ideal work-life-balanced enterprise.

1 Introduction

1.1 The development of WL (Work-Life) -Programs

The four major decisions a manager faces while planning to introduce WLB- Programs in a company are the following: Adoption, Design, Organizational Implementation, Individual Allowance Decision.

The focus of this handout never the less, lays on organizational implementation and individual allowance, describing how implementation can be approached, as well as the application in general and specific cases. Therefore the identification of a realistic de¬velopment path is needed, taking into consideration where to begin the initiative and what factors optimize its efficiency. Right from the beginning it is essential to understand, that there is not "the one and only" overall strategy for an implementation. Depending on many circumstances, for instance the current standing of the organization, strategies need to consider the cur¬rent cultural climate of the organization. 1

1.2 Custom development path

Since there is no single path of development, the company has to take internal and external factor into consideration, that influence its decision making. Internal factors, for instance are size and organizational complexity, which influence the effort of implementation. Also previous strategic choices direct future decision. On the other hand the company cannot manage measures like the status of the labor marked or the economy, which still shall be taken into account.

1.3 Change -Management

The actual actions to be taken are namely conscientious planning, prudent project management, clear communication and a carefully considered implementation. The implementation decision 5

2 The implementation decision

The implementation of WLB- Policies seems to be an adjustment, apparently favored by every employee because of the gain in personal freedom and choice. Even if this enrichment is a win-win situation, it still remains a tremendous change in everybody's working habits. Changing of such an impact always contains uncertainties, which workers have to cope with. Those adjustments might cause fear, often encountered with resistance.2

Taking this into consideration, it is necessary to generate support at all levels of hierar- chy, because implementing a WLB- Policy and its tools affects the whole organization. The unconditionally required support differs in many ways from a sheer imposed will of management. If sympathy cannot be launched, the implementation is doomed to fail:

"People don't resist change. They resist being changed!" (Peter Senge, MIT)

2.1 Family Responsible Company Development Model - Status of implementation

The Family Responsible Company Development Model, which is later described in detail, illustrates the path of improvement of WLB-Policies by 4 consecutive phases. Those stages are described by mainly 4 parameters:

1. Policies
2. Practices
3. Culture
4. Enablers.

In preparation of a closer look at the FRCD Model, the following section explains those parameters in more detail.3

The overall purpose of the model can be described as a step by step road map leading to a balanced existence of achieving proper economical results, while respecting decisions of personal life choices.

The model is classified as an instrument of change, which is depending on additional evaluation & diagnostic tools in order to generate its full potential.

2.1.1 Policies

Policies in general reflect formally designed rules that apply within the company. In order to be followed, those need to be communicated to and understood by all affected employees. Policies main purpose is to create a link between work and personal responsibility.

WLB-Policies might be classified as followed:

- Flexibility policies
- Leave arrangements
- Care provisions
- Supportive arrangements
- Conventional provisions for job quality
- Compensations benefits.

2.1.2 Practices

This measure describes the actual use of WLB- Policies OR equally important habits and practices which are not explicitly implemented. Those habits have developed coincidently (unmanaged) over a period of time, formed by the way work is organized and by the traditionally played roles of employees.

Depending on the hierarchy of certain individuals, the behavior of a small number of people or even single persons (e.g. the president) might influence the corporate culture in positive or negative ways, making habits hard to change. Their action encourages other people because of their role-model -character.4

Non-policy-driven practices are not unfavorable in any case. Depending on their direction they can contribute to the organizational culture in a supportive way, encouraging employees to build up an enriching equilibrium between works on the one hand and family (life) on the other.

Unfortunately there are also deconstructive practices, causing an undesirable burden which needs to be overcome.

Belonging to this topic, e.g. is the questionable believe in the relation of working overtime and crating an inevitable surplus in output, followed by the expectation of increased chances in job promotion. If managers, as role models, act in that manner, staff feels obliged to act alike.

2.1.3 Organizational Culture

The only way of achieving sustainable changes towards a more efficient working environment can be realized by adjusting formal AND informal culture and practices. WLBPolicies have to be internalized by every employed in order to practice them and acFHSW WKHP DV DQ HVVHQWLDO SDUW RI HYHU\ GD\¶V EXVLQHVV

Depending on the culture, positive changes can be realized quicker in a supportive environment. For this reason an assessment of culture is helpful in the first step before planning any improvements.

For a successful change it is important to capture all subjects of the work culture, such as implicit assumptions, social norms and expectations that govern the working atmosphere. In combination, those 3 factors define what is tolerated and accepted by implying a set of values and beliefs by which each employee is expected to act.5

Since culture is an hard to measure status, it is suggested to evaluate instead the amount of support present in the organization by the dimension of managerial support for WL-Harmony, career consequences (while using WLB offers) and organizational time expectations (interference with family responsibility).

It should be noted that of course the presence of a supportive culture is a better indicator of WLB support then just the availability of the programs.

2.1.4 Enablers

Enablers set up a strong foundation for a framework of supportive policies. They help to promote positive practices, translate values into norms, encourage WL-Harmony and supportive prosper organizational culture.

Referring to a set of factors, with the purpose of "driving" each phase of development and support the advancement to the next level, their consideration is essential.

Research in companies of different sizes has shown that a breakdown in any of those drivers will interrupt and harm the development process at any stage. Resulting in frustration, disappointment, unsatisfying results it might even reduce or withdraw dedicated resources, drifting to the abandonment of implementation efforts. Strategy and Resources

The aspired goal is the harmonization of personal and work life, being experienced by the work force as an integrative part of business.

In order to set up a long term and sustaining change of the organizational culture, the strategic choice of implementation has to take not only supportive measures, but also encouraging ones! To enforce the severity of the strategic choice, integration in corpo¬rate mission, vision and statement of values is required, but should not be regarded as the "untouchable ivory tower". Instead all individuals should internalize the values and integrate them in the daily business.6

Relating to this emphasis, responsibilities are not only assigned to people, but in addi- tion the resources time and money are assigned to short, medium and long term pur- poses.


1 (Caligiuri, 2008)

2 (Caligiuri, 2008)

3 (Caligiuri, 2008)

4 (Caligiuri, 2008)

5 (Caligiuri, 2008)

6 (Caligiuri, 2008)


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Institution / College
University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt am Main
work life balance work-life balance




Title: Mastering the challenge of implementing work-life policies