Pro Build Case Study Report

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Executive Summary

An issue with this case is that of work-life balance and its effects on the satisfaction and engagement levels of their employees. A key issue relating to this case can be identified as family-to-work conflict, and as studies have shown that decreases in employee satisfaction can lead to employee burnout and a heightened percentage of negative employee turnover.

It was discovered that employees that are parents would highly value workplace flexibility as it can allow the employee to fulfil certain parental needs required of them to their family. The needs of a family is to provide economic support, the need to provide practical care to their children such as picking them up from school, and the need of emotional care to their children such as providing attention, stimulation and love to the child and this is provided to the employee through a working environment that is not mentally and physically draining. It is evidenced that employees who do not have the required needs of a parent still value workplace flexibility as it allows for the employee to potentially have time to alleviate the stress associated with the long work hours.

It was discovered that the strategy employed by Probuild could not possibly work for organisations that do not have long hours as a contributor to family-work conflict. For example a young parent working in a fast paced restaurant, for a five hour shift for three days a week will not suffer from the consequences of long hours, yet may suffer from the consequences of a high-stress environment leading to exhaustion and not having the energy to tend to their child’s needs.

It has been discovered that flexible companies are more competitive because a link between competitiveness and competitive advantage is evident. The link is that efficiency is one of the generic building blocks of competitive advantage and efficiency is created by employee productivity. Employee productivity is influenced by employee engagement which means higher chances of meeting organisational goals resulting from the positive employee satisfaction. Higher employee engagement also means higher profits as an employee that is shown to be engaged will not show signs of the the three burnout dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy.

Time related flexibility policies such as reduced time, a strategy that allows full-time employees to opt for a part-time workload whilst maintaining their position at Probuild Dealing with the reduction of working Saturdays.

It has been recommended to Probuild that they implement the strategy of reduced time, as would prove to be mutually beneficial to both employees as the parent would be able to fulfil parental duties, whilst the part-time employee would receive more income due to more hours worked. It has also been Recommended that Probuild establish and maintain a culture of flexibility as the employee will experience a lower level of stress resulting from work-life/family conflicts and a culture of flexibility has been shown to increase the engagement levels of employees, which has been linked with the efficiency of a company, thus increasing its competitiveness within the industry.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

1.0Introduction

2.0 Why do Employees value opportunities for workplace flexibility?

3.0 Would this Strategy Work in all Organisations and Industries?

4.0 Is it Possible for Companies to be Competitive as well as Flexible?

5.0 What Other Flexibility and Work/ Family Balance Strategies could Probuild utilized?

6.0 What do you believe the Productivity Outcomes and Benefits of Such a Program Would be to Probuild?

6.0Conclusions

7.0Recommendations

List of References

1.0 Introduction

The Probuild construction company’s decision to investigate the work-family balance within their company allowing the development of a work-life balance policy is a good step towards increasing the level of satisfaction of their employees. Numerous studies have shown that the benefits of increased employee satisfaction within a company leads to a higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, profitability, productivity and safety (Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L, 2002).

An issue with this case is that of work-life balance and its effects on the satisfaction and engagement levels of their employees. As it was revealed by a survey distributed to employees and their partners, it was discovered that although employees are happy to work at Probuild, the long hours and workload is having an adverse effect on their family life. A key issue relating to this case can be identified as family-to-work conflict, and as studies have shown that decreases in employee satisfaction can lead to employee burnout and a heightened percentage of negative employee turnover.

2.0 Why do Employees value opportunities for workplace flexibility?

As it was revealed by a survey distributed to employees and their partners, it was discovered that although employees are happy to work at Probuild, the long hours and workload is having an adverse effect on their family life. A key issue relating to this case can be identified as family-to-work conflict which is defined as in-compatibilities that arise between the two major focal points of adult life, work and family resulting in adverse effects on employee satisfaction in the forms of heightened stress, lower levels of motivation and frustration (Netemeyer, R. G., Boles, J. S., & McMurrian, R, 1996).

Employees that are parents would highly value workplace flexibility as it can allow the employee to fulfil certain parental needs required of them to their family. As they are presented with variable work hours it can have the potential to reduce family-to-work conflict through pertaining to the needs of the employee’s family. These parental needs as defined by Holt and Thaulow are the needs required of the workplace to the parent (employee) which includes the requirement to provide economic support, or simply the need to receive an income to support their family (Holt, H., & Thaulow, I, 1996). The need to provide practical care to their children such as picking them up from school, taking sick children to the doctors or dental visits and so forth can potentially be provided through workplace flexibility (Holt, H., & Thaulow, I, 1996). The last need is that of emotional care to their children such as providing attention, stimulation and love to the child which is highly important during the early years of a child’s development, and this is provided to the employee through a working environment that is not mentally and physically draining (Holt, H., & Thaulow, I, 1996).

It is evidenced that employees who do not have the required needs of a parent still value workplace flexibility as it allows for the employee to potentially have time to alleviate the stress associated with the long work hours. It has been identified that there is a link between people who are over committed to their work and a general feeling that their lives outside of work are unsatisfactory leading to mental conditions such as depression (Iacovides, A., Fountoulakis, K. N., Kaprinis, S., & Kaprinis, G.,2003)

However employees of Probuild such as managers may not value workplace flexibility. Due to a large number of employees applying for numerous different work hour flexibilities, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to put into practice.

3.0 Would this Strategy Work in all Organisations and Industries?

The strategy employed by Probuild was performed through a survey handed out to employees within the organisation allowing for a strategy to be developed that is highly tailored to suit the unique needs of their own employees. Unless there is an organisation that is an exact replica of Probuild, with exactly the same long hour issue, the resulting strategies would differ due to the unique needs of the other organisation. The methods used by Probuild to receive the end result strategies may work for an organisation that has the similar work shift structures, such as a regular nine to five job with a similar amount of employees currently working. This strategy would work for those businesses that have a similar amount of employees because there would potentially be enough employees to cover the work-time that other employees have requested off.

This strategy could not possibly work for organisations that do not have long hours as a contributor to family-work conflict. There are many other factors contributing to family-work conflict that are simply not present in other forms of work. For example a young parent working in a fast paced restaurant, for a five hour shift for three days a week will not suffer from the consequences of long hours, yet may suffer from the consequences of a high-stress environment leading to exhaustion and not having the energy to tend to their child’s needs.

4.0 Is it Possible for Companies to be Competitive as well as Flexible?

The possibility of work place flexibility and competitiveness are highly likely, but first it is necessary to define what it means to be competitive. Competitiveness is defined as the fundamental underpinning of prosperity, in which prosperity is achieved through high levels of employee productivity and efficiency (Porter, M. E., Ketels, C., & Delgado, M, 2007).

The link between competitiveness and competitive advantage is that efficiency is one of the generic building blocks of competitive advantage and efficiency is created by employee productivity. Employee productivity as defined by Charles Hill and Gareth Jones is the output produced per employee, for example if it takes company ‘A’ three hours for an employee to produce a laptop, compared to Company ‘B’ which takes 2 hours for an employee to produce a laptop, it can be said that company ‘B’ has a higher level of employee productivity as more laptops are able to be produced leading to a higher level of competitive advantage (Hill, Jones, C.H, G.J, 2010).

A study completed by A Better Balance, a family-work balance legal centre shows that a higher level of employee satisfaction is reached when employees have workplace flexibility as they feel they have more of a stake in the organisation and it has been shown that it is 50% more likely that employees with workplace flexibility are more engaged within their work (A Better Balance, 2010).

Employee engagement as defined by Maslach et al. (2001), the employee engagement is regarded as the energy, involvement, and efficacy of the employee (Maslach, C., Schaufelli, W.B. and Leiter, M.P, 2001). Higher employee engagement means higher chances of meeting organisational goals resulting from the positive employee satisfaction. Higher employee engagement also means higher profits as an employee that is shown to be engaged will not show signs of the three burnout dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy (Maslach, C., Schaufelli, W.B. and Leiter, M.P, 2001).

Therefore, through the increase of customer satisfaction from workplace flexibility, heightened employee engagement is the result. The company that has a higher employee engagement will have a higher level of employee productivity and thus a higher level of efficiency. A higher level of efficiency means a competitive advantage over a company that does not use flexible workplace practices, in which such an inflexible workplace would suffer the consequences of exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy.

5.0 What Other Flexibility and Work/ Family Balance Strategies could Probuild utilized?

To minimise the stress cause by work-family conflicts, Probuild could have implemented a number of other strategies. As the reason for these conflicts was caused by the lengthy hours that ProBuild’s employees are required to work, resulting in their partners having to perform all of the house-hold maintenance whilst engaging in paid work themselves, strategies that target the lengthy work hours are required.

Time related flexibility policies identified by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management include reduced time, a strategy that allows full-time employees to opt for a part-time workload whilst maintaining their position at Probuild (F & W I, SHRM, 2012). Dealing with overwork is another strategy identified by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management which is the process of reducing the amount of unnecessary work, or in ProBuilds case, the reduction of working Saturdays (F & W I, SHRM, 2012).

6.0 What do you believe the Productivity Outcomes and Benefits of Such a Program Would be to Probuild?

The levels in employee productivity in Probuild, if such programs were implemented, would certainly be increased. As evidence has shown that employee satisfaction is increased when the employee is able to utilize workplace flexibility policies as the stress and negative behaviours relating from work-life or work-family conflicts is reduced. If such a strategy such as reduced time was implemented, full-time employees of Probuild would be able to swap their work load with another worker, allowing them to pick up their children, or fulfil other outside of work duties, reducing the amount of work-life/family conflicts. The benefits of increased employee satisfaction has been identified as increases in the level of employee engagement. Employee engagement is highly important to the competitiveness of a company as is it a result of increasing employee productivity by reducing adverse effects such as exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy, also known as burnout.

6.0Conclusions

The issues relating to the Probuild case was that of work-life/family balances and trying to implement efficient strategies to deal with the conflicts than can arise between these two major focal point of adult life. Employees value these workplace flexibility policies because it allows them to fulfil their outside of work needs. Whether the employee is a parent that requires flexible work hours to pick up their children, or whether the employee is a young student requiring time off to study for exams, the benefits to the employee and Probuild are mutual. The benefits that Probuild receives from implementing flexible work policies is that in the form of employee engagement which has been shown to arise from employees satisfaction of their work place.

Achieving high employee engagement at Probuild should be a high priority as it can increase the level of employee productivity, increasing efficiency, which is a building block for creating competitive advantage. Therefore, it has been discovered that the company that practices flexible work policies will prove to have a higher level of competitiveness than that of a company that is inflexible.

7.0Recommendations

For Probuild to maximise competitive advantage it is suggested that:

1. Probuild implement the strategy of reduced time, as this would allow full-time parents to swap a certain amount of their workload to another part-time employee, whilst maintaining their current position at Probuild. This would prove to be mutually beneficial to both employees as the parent would be able to fulfil parental duties, whilst the part-time employee would receive more income due to more hours worked. This would solve the issue with employees whose partners are distressed by the Saturday shifts by giving this shift to an employee who doesn’t have a young family.

2. Probuild establish and maintain a culture of flexibility. This culture of flexibility is mutually beneficial to the employee and Probuild as the employee will experience a lower level of stress resulting from work-life/family conflicts. This would be beneficial to Probuild because a culture of flexibility I shown to increase the engagement levels of employees, which has been linked with the efficiency of a company, thus increasing its competitiveness within the industry.

List of References

  1. A Better Balance, a Better Balance, 2010. Workplace flexibility is a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining employees..THE BUSINESS CASE FOR WORKPLACE FLEXIBILITY, 1, 3,4. Available at:http://www.abetterbalance.org/web/images/stories/Documents/fairness/factsheets/BC-2010-A_Better_Balance.pdf[Accessed 09 May 2014]
  2. Black, S. E., & Lynch, L. M. (2001). How to compete: the impact of workplace practices and information technology on productivity.Review of Economics and statistics,83(3), 434-445.
  3. Families and Work Institute, Society for Human Resource Managment, F & W I, SHRM, 2012. Defining Workplace Flexibility.When Work Works Toolkit, Building Support for Workplace Flexibility, 1, 3,4. Available at:http://www.whenworkworks.org/downloads/www_toolkit_120312.pdf[Accessed 09 May 2014]
  4. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: a meta-analysis.Journal of applied psychology,87(2), 268.
  5. Hill, Jones, C.H, G.J, 2010.Strategic Management, An Integrated Approach Theory. 5th ed. China: South-Western Cengage Learning.
  6. Holt, H., & Thaulow, I. (1996). Formal and informal flexibility in the workplace.The work-family challenge: Rethinking employment, 79-82.
  7. Iacovides, A., Fountoulakis, K. N., Kaprinis, S., & Kaprinis, G. (2003). The relationship between job stress, burnout and clinical depression.Journal of Affective Disorders,75(3), 209-221.
  8. Maslach, C., Schaufelli, W.B. and Leiter, M.P. (2001), “Job burnout”, Annual Review of Psychology,
  9. Netemeyer, R. G., Boles, J. S., & McMurrian, R. (1996). Development and validation of work–family conflict and family–work conflict scales.Journal of applied psychology,81(4), 400.
  10. Porter, M. E., Ketels, C., & Delgado, M. (2007). The microeconomic foundations of prosperity: findings from the business competitiveness index.The Global Competitiveness Report 2007–2008.
  11. Vol. 52, pp. 397-422.

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