Human Resource Management Lesson 8 Exercise
1.- With reference to your own business experience, critically evaluate the idea that there is a business case for family friendly working practices.
In my experience I am and I have been in corporations where there are implemented in high degree the family friendly working practices, IBM is a example where there are a lot of programs to promote this practices, like IT facilities to work from home, flexible timetable, part-time options, sabbatical year, agreements with nurseries etc… But I have also known another kind of jobs and another sectors where the use of these kind of practices is quite complex. Obviously in the most of the occidental countries there are some directives and laws focused to guarantee a minimum of policies (i.e. parental leave), in this sense and depending of the degree of socialization of these countries can help to the workers with different weight (i.e. in the Nordic countries the social helps are higher than in other European countries as Spain) but in my opinion the governments has the responsibility to encourage such practices for companies seeking to implement it.
Some of the main arguments found in the policy statements of different countries (UK, Spain, etc..) are focused to explain that the performance of employees who have difficulty balancing the demands of work and family show symptoms of demotivation hence decreases in theirs productivity. There are other important benefits to the organization like for example the financial performance, labour productivity, and decrease of days of absence. With this picture to address such a business case could be a good plan to increase the benefits of the company although not always is possible to get it.
Currently the companies where have been implemented these practices has a common characteristics like are: it are in large organisations, mainly in public sector, lower degrees of competition, existence of trade unions, larger proportions of women, etc. All these common characteristics can be seen as negative points because looks like that not all companies are ready to implement these practices, although there are some research (Harris and Foster, 2005 p.9) that demonstrate that small firms could operate in highly informal and flexible way.
Using these kind of practices give a lot of benefits for employer and for the employee but each company should analyze what types of benefits they want to reach and make a profile of options about the family friendly working practices in order to fit it with theirs needs, for example if one company wants to reduce the labour turnover can implement practices like job-share, flexi-time or working at or from home.
As conclusion I would like to express my opinion about this issue, because as employee this topic affect directly to my own life. I think that the implementation of these practices some times can be a trick because the companies offer a several opportunities to use some of these practices, but at the moment that someone uses some of them can have some difficulties to promotion. Another situation that I have experimented is that before to work in companies with these practices I had a personal life, but after with the use of these practices is complicate to separate the job and the family and now the job is another member of the family.
Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2008), 'Human Resource Management at Work' (4th edn), London: CIPD.
Helen Newell (2009), Human Resources Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School.
Flexibility Web Site.
Family-friendly employment: who's doing what and why: http://www.flexibility.co.uk/issues/WLB/rowntree1.htm