Describe some of the issues related to individual work-life balance, and analyze related organizational support for it

Read the article and write a paper, you must have a minimum of 3 scholarly sources (peer-reviewed journal articles). Please ensure that you follow standard APA formatting. Your paper must have a title page and a reference page. You must have a minimum of five (5) in-text citations.

Respond to the following questions in an essay (3 page minimum).

Apply the OD processes, such as diagnosis and change management, to issues related to performance management, employee and organizational work-life issues, benefits, and programs. Describe some of the issues related to individual work-life balance, and analyze related organizational support for it. How can Healthco become a top work-life balance company?

Scenario #1

“Pat, I just can’t do it. I know you want me to go to New York tonight, but I can’t make a trip like this at the last minute.”

“Chris, you are the best attorney we have for these negotiations—we need you.”

“I appreciate the compliment, but I can’t arrange the care for my mother and my daughter on four hours notice. I told you during my performance appraisal about the demands I am under—in terms of carrying my own workload and part of Sidney’s [a coworker] during this parental leave time. In addition, like I said, I have two elderly parents, one needing daily care, my toddler daughter, and I am moving next week. I know you want me to progress and I appreciate it, but you know I work hard—I work overtime every week—but I can’t do what you want this time. I’m sorry. I’ll talk to you later.”

Pat hangs up the phone and thinks, “Okay, I know I am asking a lot, but how do I resolve these issues? It’s frustrating that Sidney is out on 12 weeks leave—geez!!!—and it’s only going to get worse. Chris is my best person … why isn’t Chris more committed? And doesn’t Sidney know that 12 weeks off creates hardships for everyone else? How can I get them to do more?”

Chris walks to the parking lot thinking, “Boy, I thought I made a good move in coming here. But Pat is worse than the partners I used to work for. What am I going to do? Oh well, at least the job market for attorneys is good.”

Scenario #2

“Francis, I appreciate your help these last few weeks. I never could have exceeded all my goals or facilitated my team exceeding its goal if you hadn’t connected me with Kyle’s Elder Care Referral Service. I feel like I would have had to take at least five to seven days off to gather the same information that Kyle had immediately available. And then I would have spent another week or two—not two days— getting my dad settled. I don’t know why he decided to retire to Ireland, but he is delighted with the arrangements, and is doing well.”

“That’s okay, Blair, I’m happy to help. Thank you for the excellent job you’ve been doing. I really appreciate it. Let’s talk about next month’s key goals.”

Blair had been the project lead during the implementation of a new quality process in the laboratory, and despite an above-average workload the last month, had successfully met the project’s objectives. Francis thought, “It was touch and go when Blair’s dad suddenly wanted to retire to Ireland, and wanted to move immediately. Thank heaven I remembered reading about Kyle and the Elder Care Referral Service.”

Blair left Francis’ office with a smile, thinking, “ Francis is great to work for… I can’t even consider any of the calls I’m getting from other hospitals or headhunters. It’s just great to work for someone who understands that work is just one part of life.”

Scenario #3

Robin, department head for pediatrics at HealthCo’s second largest hospital, had asked to meet with Mercer, the director of pediatrics for HealthCo.

“Mercer, thanks for your time. As you know I’m 56 this year, and I want to talk to you about my retirement. I have many interests beyond my medical practice, and also want more time with my family and community. What I would like to do is begin working part-time after this first year. What I’m thinking is that I would work 30 hours a week for two years, still holding clinic hours two days week. Then the next three to five years I would like to transition to full-time retirement. What I would like is to work 20 or so hours per week for those years, working with medical school students and on research projects.”

“Well, Robin, as you know, we don’t have any formal retirement policy except to fully retire. I’m going to have to talk to HR about this. You have extensive experience and expertise, and I don’t want to lose that. I’m just not sure what HR or the Physicians’ Council will say.”

“I understand. My first choice is to remain with HealthCo, but I know there are organizations that would be interested in my working part-time. When can you get back to me?”

“Give me a couple of weeks, Robin.”

“Okay.”

Mercer began to think about Robin’s request, already hearing HR raise issues like benefits, ongoing participation in retirement funding, and precedents being set. But Mercer didn’t want to lose Robin’s expertise. And Robin’s idea of working with the medical students might let HealthCo create a unique internship and residency experience, which would let HealthCo attract the top students.

BACKGROUND

The people in these three scenarios work for HealthCo, a fully integrated, nonprofit health care organization with nine major medical centers and 36 affiliated clinics, rehabilitation units, therapy facilities, hospice and geriatric units, and other highly specialized centers. Located in the eastern United States, HealthCo has about 6,700 employees. Like other health care companies, it employs a disproportionate number of women, especially in nursing and patient care, allied health services, and support staff. The backgrounds of Pat, Francis, and Mercer, all managers at HealthCo, are provided below.

Pat is the chief counsel of HealthCo’s internal legal department. Pat has worked for HealthCo for five years, after 15 years in a major law firm in Washington, D.C. It has been a difficult transition from the “do-anything, 24/7” pace of the firm to the “slower, less professional” pace of HealthCo. Pat is married and has three kids. Pat’s spouse is also an attorney. Pat’s staff is primarily full-time and works “nine to five.” The department is very busy, often with a workload that significantly exceeds the day-to-day capacity of the staff.

Francis serves as the director of laboratory services for the largest hospital. The laboratory is staffed around the clock and can be called on to perform routine and emergency procedures at any time. The new quality process that Blair helped to implement was critical to the lab supporting the hospital’s status as the primary emergency and critical-care facility in the region. Francis, who had started in a research lab prior to joining HealthCo, felt the pressure of staffing a 24/7 lab. Having never married, Francis could not imagine juggling marriage and children in addition to the demands of having two parents and five siblings and their families living nearby. Francis tried to help the lab’s employees with family or life demands, but did so on a personal basis, and not because the hospital had many such benefits available.

Mercer is a nationally known pediatrician with 15 years experience, and was recently hired to head HealthCo’s pediatrics organization. Mercer’s expertise and management capabilities were stretched in a positive way by the demands of such a large and comprehensive pediatric practice. Thriving on that challenge, Mercer had been very successful since taking over the organization. Marrying after medical school to another physician, Mercer felt grateful for being able to work the hours required to fully learn and understand this new position. Mercer knew a number of people on the pediatric staff, including a number of the pediatricians. Many of them felt Mercer worked way too much, and moreover, worried Mercer expected the same of them. Mercer knew that younger physicians weren’t as keen on the 24/7 doctor lifestyle that Mercer’s father had lived.

RECENT EVENTS

A couple of weeks after Pat’s conversation with Chris, Francis’ with Blair, and Mercer’s with Robin, a senior staff meeting was called to discuss current issues and the coming year’s strategic initiatives. The CEO, Dr. Palmer, recently had become focused on employee retention, after Human Resources reported that HealthCo’s turnover was 1.5 times the industry average. While HealthCo was competitive about salary, benefits seemed to be an area needing improvement. Further, the recent issue of Fortune, which identified the “Best Companies to Work For,” raised Dr. Palmer’s awareness of the growing importance of work-life programs and policies.

Dr. Palmer realized that HealthCo did not provide many of the benefits offered by these “best companies.” In fact, very few health care companies made the list. Palmer conceded that the 24/7 nature of health care organizations probably complicated the provision of work-life benefits. However, Palmer also saw a potential competitive advantage in being a leader in providing such benefits, especially when combined with the competitive salary and merit structure HealthCo offered. Dr. Palmer remembered that a survey had been done of HealthCo female employees by an outside research team, and that one area of the survey was work-life issues. A review of the data revealed a number of benefits seen as important to the female employees of HealthCo (see Table 1). The research also had suggested that the immediate supervisor played a vital role in the employee’s ability to successfully balance work and life, and the employee’s satisfaction with her work-life balance. An immediate supervisor’s direct support of work-life balance was significantly linked to other important outcomes, such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intent to leave the organization.

TABLE 1 Rank-Order Importance of Work-Life Benefits for Female Employees at HealthCo

 

Benefit

Rank

Currently Offered by Healthco

 

Maternity/Paternity and Family Leave

 

Includes paid maternity and paternity leave, extended paid   leave for family issues, and unpaid leave for family issues with the ability   to return to work.

1

HealthCo pays six weeks maternity and paternity leave,   after the employees has been with the company for one year. Employees can   take another six weeks unpaid. No extended leave.

 

Sabbatical/Extended Leave

 

Paid extended leave after working for a specified time   with the company.

2

Not offered by HealthCo.

 

Fitness

 

Includes on-site fitness facilities, and/or paid health   club memberships.

3

Not offered by HealthCo.

 

Flextime

 

Includes part-time work schedules, flextime, and   telecommuting.

4

Flextime, with two-hour flex offered in some departments.

 

Work-Life Task Force

 

Employee committee that oversees work-life issues.

5

Currently overseen by HR.

 

Concierge Services

 

Includes services such as on-site takeout, dry cleaning,   auto service, and other similar services.

6

Not offered except at corporate headquarters.

 

Child Care

 

Includes on-site child care, vacation programs, and before   and after school care.

7

Sick-child care offered at some of the medical centers.

 

Referral Services

 

Includes child care, elder care, and other referral   services.

8

Not offered by HealthCo.

 

Paid Health Insurance Premiums

*

HealthCo pays the employee’s premium.

 

* Payment of health insurance premium not   rank-ordered, but included in survey information.

 

© Cengage Learning

Dr. Palmer raised the question of offering work-life benefits at the senior staff meeting. Dr. Palmer noted that while funding was not unlimited, of course, HealthCo’s recent financial performance would permit budget allocations to such benefits, and might also be offset by reduced turnover costs or improved productivity.

Pat immediately stated, “I can barely get my staff together now with all the work we have going on. And, I certainly can’t hold their hands. They would never be coddled this way in a law firm. People work the hours needed, no questions asked.” Francis said, “I can see the difference such benefits would make, but how do I make this work in a 24/7 department? While Legal might see it as difficult, I see it as impossible, especially any movement away from traditional shifts.” A nursing director commented thoughtfully, “Some hospitals are considering shorter, split shifts, and longer shifts to create flexibility— there might be something to that.” A number of departments immediately argued such scheduling was a leader’s nightmare, and that the company’s existing two hours of flextime in a number of departments created serious issues. The V.P. of finance for the hospital spoke up, “I don’t see why people with children should be treated differently—it’s their choice to have children. I have a life, too, and you don’t see me asking for special arrangements. I have employees asking me to work from home—how do I appraise their performance if they primarily work at home?” Mercer thought about Robin’s request, wondering if other baby-boomer employees would soon be making similar requests.

Dr. Palmer listened to what was quickly becoming a heated discussion, noting the varied and complicated reactions of the different directors, vice presidents, and other top leaders of the organization. Dr. Palmer commented, “We say in our recruiting materials that our employees are HealthCo, that it is individual care in all areas of the company—from nursing to accounting—that makes us different. How can we expect our employees to give individual care if we, as an organization, don’t care about them and their lives?”

“I’d like a team of four to six volunteers to put together a plan for becoming a top company in terms of work-life benefits. Please identify the key issues in serving all employees with such a set of benefits, and any related issues.”

 

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