A global industry leader announced a 12 weeks paid parental leave to support work-life balance. However without the support of managers and the key role of the individuals, this policy might not reach the intended effect.
Other companies might think the same as this company -with proven commitment to it's employees - which announced a worldwide policy of 12 weeks paid leave for primary parents for all of it's global workforce.
It is an admirable initiative, clearly from my heart! I remember when my children were born, I have spent about the same amount of time with my family, no working at all. One of my best investments of my life! However as an entrepreneur, I would have appreciated if someone would have paid for me during this time...
Why did I take this time off? Clearly not because of any sort of financial incentive, in contrary, there was a negative financial incentive on it. So why than? Because I wanted to be with my beloved ones, it was so important to me, it resonated so much with my inner self!
There was another factor; I knew, my colleagues and my family supported me in my decision.
Reflecting on my decision of that time, and putting the science of influencing human behavior behind; perhaps; we can draw the conclusions:
If you want people keep their balance, you need three factors:
Individuals should be accountable for their own work-life balance, primarily. Without this, after accepting gratefully the 12 weeks paid leave , or any other similar policy, they will just get back to the old, self ruining workaholic habits, or, wait for the next costly company policy to skip working.
Managers, colleagues, families should support with their real commitment and sacrifice on time, effort, goals. Colleagues happily standing in for the employee in leave, managers easing up on goals and objectives accordingly is needed. Managers punishing the employees with extra load after they come back, will send a clear message to other employees in the organisation: do not take this extra opportunity.
And finally, it is a great help to have the company policies in place, supporting work-life balance, which clearly demonstrate the values and the purpose of the organisation.
These 3 factors in this order hopefully will deliver real work-life balance, higher employee moral, better stakeholder engagement, and as a side effect, better financial results.
If you are interested in the science behind influencing work-life balance and human behaviors, click here.