Whereas previous generations have sought greater levels of financial compensation or larger benefits packages from their employers, millennial workers have made it clear they value work-life balance above all else. Therefore, smaller firms will have to accommodate that priority if they want to assemble the kind of team that will allow them to remain competitive in today’s cutthroat marketplace.
It’s about control
It’s important for small business owners to understand that the notion of work-life balance isn’t necessarily about shorter hours and more vacation. It also refers to the fact that younger employees need some measure of control and agency in their working lives. As noted in this New York Times article, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that employees who were allowed to work wherever and whenever they wanted not only hit all over their goals, but they were much happier than workers who labored under a more rigid paradigm. That higher degree of job satisfaction is essential because it will translate to a greater level of productivity and, consequently, profitability.
The importance of clear direction
Another way small business owners can promote a quality work-life balance is by giving clear direction to their subordinates. Numerous surveys have found that a lack of clarity in regards to goals and direction is one of the top causes of employee disengagement in the United States. Worker disengagement costs the U.S. economy up to $550 billion every year. It is critical that managers make sure that every member of their team is on the same page. This means providing not just instructions, but a context for those instructions that will inspire as well as inform.
Find out what your team needs
When it comes to work-life balance, there is no one size fits all solution. For some, a quality work-life balance means having a four-day work week, or being able to work from home. For others, it means working for an employer that has a wellness program that includes counseling services and free gym memberships. The only way to make sure your team is happy, healthy and focused is to meet with each of them individually to find out what their needs are. This process will serve the dual purpose of optimizing their performance and earning their respect and admiration.
This article was written by Mario McKellop for Small Business Pulse