The Work Life Balance HR practice in Quintiles India
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Our Country India is a country, which got independence almost 55 years back in 1947, & in 1992 we achieved L.P.G. – Liberalization, privatization & Globalization. Then India started growing in various sectors gradually focusing on opportunities but neglecting the existing problems which other wise would have helped India be the leader.
Theemployment rate in India increased with the increase in opportunities like education, globalization, talent & other opportunities. But these not only helped us in employment, benefits to our economy & improved standard of leaving but also brought along competition to optimize existing capabilities and increase efficiency, which demands a lot more out of the people than what they were handling few years back.
The first chapter deals with the literature review of what scholars had to say about possible HR policies to manage people in an organization, and the bigger picture of the relevance of HR policies with respect to Work Life Balance in organizations. The 2nd chapter describes the Quintiles India, its HR practices & the survey results about the company. The Chapter 3 describes the HR practices followed by other companies and its impact. The 4th chapter deals with a comparative analysis of these organizations on certain parameters and finally concludes with recommendation for Quintiles to improve on few neglected areas
Our research methodology comprises of literature review, telephonic interview with the Senior HR manager of Quintiles and questionnaire based survey with employees of Quintiles to understand the reason behind their balanced work life. We also sent the similar questionnaire which was a generalized copy of the survey to understand the Work-life balance of employees in different professions like educational, IT/Software, Service sector, Medicine, Entertainment, public sector & government employees. We tried to get at least one sample from each of these categories, with a total of more than 70 samples outside Quintiles & a sample of 40 we came up with few observations in our report.
In 1977, Kanter proposed the view of work and family in the business world as that of two separate domains. With the changing nature of people, work and workplaces, people have started focusing on job insecurity, work load, quality work and long working hours (Brannen and Moss 1998; Burchell, Ladipo et al. 2002; La Valle, Arthur et al. 2002) and the long hours culture in many occupations (Bond, Hyman et al. 2002; Crompton, Dennett et al. 2003). Although occupational and work-family stress has been addressed since the 1980s, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in stress, relating to these changes in the nature of work (Brannen and Moss 1998; Burchell, Ladipo et al. 2002; La Valle, Arthur et al. 2002; Yeandle, Wigfield et al. 2002). Lack of training coupled with poor policy awareness leads to inconsistencies in application both between and within departments. The tension between being responsive in individual cases and being seen to treat requests equally can cause problems for managers (Kodz et al. 2002; Bond et al. 2002). If an employee feels that their work-life policy request has not been dealt with fairly there is a tendency to compare their treatment unfavorably with that of other employees. Despite all these some authors noticed that the relationship between work life benefit programs and employee behavior and attitudes remains unclear and thus have called for more research on the impact of work life balance benefits in work place.(Casper & Buffardi, 2004; Eby, Casper, Lockwood, Bordeaux & Brinley, 2005; Kossek & Ozeki, 1998; 1999).
(Wiley Inter Science, Journal of Organizational Behavior “Work-Life benefits and positive organizational behavior: is there a connection?” & “Work-life Balance: A New Challenge for Shining India” an article in Eighth AIMS International Conference on Management by Archna Sukhija, Forte Institute of Technology, Meerut)
Our project is an attempt to understand how Indian working force balance their work & life. The success of an organization depends on its people to a large extent- their commitment, dedication, expertise, creativity and quality of work which will actually be reflected on customer satisfaction. People management plays an important role in this and thus HR Manager has high responsibility in success or failure of an organization. In today’s competitive world, the demand for workforce that is stable, committed, adaptable and flexible to meet the business challenges ahead is high. At the same time because of growing employment rate, where in both men and women have started working has left no time for family life, raising kids or taking care of their parents. Lately employees have realized the value of family and so are placing more value on ‘quality of working life’ seeking greater flexibility so that they can manage work commitments alongside personal and family life. Which is a good sign from the personal life aspect but can organizations still work effectively with these demands from employees?
We have chosen Quintiles India, because this company is well known for its work life balance, and is listed in the “Top 50 – Best company to work for in India ” top among the companies in the clinical/health sector.
QuintilesIndia operates among the rapidly growing pharmaceutical market. It is a CRO – clinical research organization. The company helps clients make use of a well-established corporate infrastructure, government policies favoring R&D,growth in the health insurance sector; hospitals available for clinical trials and tertiary care. Added to the above advantages, Quintiles India has a solid relationship with leading medical centers and experienced English-speaking investigators. All studies are conducted to FDA and ICH GCP (good clinical practices) standards. India’s highly literate population provides fast, efficient access to broad population groups with common and special disease profiles, allowing for rapid patient recruitment and faster study start-ups. The key services include access to patients, biostatistics, central laboratory services, clinical monitoring and site management, data management, drug safety/pharmacovigilance, ECG services, project management and regulatory services. Quintiles India is located in four major cities: Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon and recently Hyderabad. And they have the Gender Ratio (F: M):1:0.73.
Quintiles, is the only fully integrated bio and pharmaceutical services provider offering clinical, commercial, consulting & capital solution. We have chosen Quintiles India, based in Bangalore, which handles data management facility. Quintiles India because this company is well known for its work life balance, and is listed in the “Top 50 – Best company to work for in India ” top among the companies in the clinical/health sector. In India, Quintiles works with 15 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. It has conducted 90 trials involving 13,000 patients and in cardiovascular areas, cancer, diabetes, psychiatric and infectious diseases.
HR practice in Quintiles India
The company’s personal approach and flexibility have won it its employees’ admiration and loyalty. Employees at Quintiles are encouraged to look beyond customary practices, share suggestions and ideas on processes or post new ideas using online tools like Eureka and IPAC. They have Business Innovative Center at the company, which reviews and formulates an action plan.â€¨Work-life balance is an area of focus for Quintiles across the world.
Quintiles India policies involve:
Flexible Management Practices across, including work from home for certain levels
Home based employment where the company provides the required work-enabling basic office infrastructure
Choice of shift timings for those working in shifts, etc.
Four Months Maternity leave, as against 3 months per the rules
Five days Special Leave apart from other Privilege leaves, casual & sick leaves- Paid leaves for employees to spend time with their families
Transfer options to different locations or different countries
Few Practices to maintain employee friendly atmosphere:
Celebrations at Quintiles allow people to bond and enjoy their togetherness.
Major festivals like Christmas and Diwali are celebrated.
Individual Business units have a committee based on a theme of recreation or another action such as sports, picnic, social responsibility events, which also prepares a calendar based on fun activities.
An annual Parichay, Open Day, PVC Family Day, EADare the family day, achievements award day and annual day for celebrated in the office.
Friday quizzes, food mela, ethnic days and other activities are organized to help people exchange their home cooked foods and understand each other culture, customs & tradition
The location,working hours, timings, shifts of employees in Quintiles
Work hours – 8.5 hrs of work per day.
Office timings: The core office hours are 10.30am to 5pm. The timings are flexible for general shift employees
Shifts: They have 2 shifts operations; 24X7 & general shift options available based on the business there are in. This largely depends on the type of business line & the contract they have signed with the clients.
Innovative working methods to encourage the employees
Quintiles India have dedicated website for career ladders where employees can view the next steps in the same business line & in various other business lines. This site also has the job descriptions of every job available in Quintiles across the globe. They collaborate through an online document management tool that acts as a document library, issue tracker and surveys or quizzes. Manager Direct Access allows managers to access and update HR data on their reports.
An employee sums up the experience of working with Quintiles in these words: “First of all, I would like to say that this is the best place that I have worked for. People are so good and friendly that you feel like a family. You don’t have to hesitate even for a second to reach somebody, even a senior manager in the company. We celebrate almost every occasion that comes our way as a team, while involving various departments. There is personal satisfaction and pride in the job that I do for my organization.”
Work life Balance policies in other Companies
In this section we will be discussing the work life balance policies in other organizations. We have considered KPMG & PWC are two other organizations which didn’t have good HR policies in place but they are trying to improve it. So, as per our methodology, we will first give a glimpse of KPMG and PWC’s HR policy reviews. In the next chapter we will compare between various organizations.
KPMG’s HR Policies
KPMG is a place where HR policies were not really good, but they are addressing the key challenges and are trying to rectify it.
KPMG recognised the importance of balance in the relationship between work and non-work life, and the potentially significant impact that this can have on team performance.
Today staffs expect more flexibility in job, recognition, cooperation and freedom in job. So main challenge was to develop a flexible work life, giving them enough freedom & recognition.
They implemented the flexible working hours for employees, all employees are eligible to apply for flexible working and have the right to appeal if their request is declined.
Line manager and HR personnel work together to achieve goals.
After the successful implementation of different policies, the key performance indicators have improved. It has made staff more loyal & motivated.
It has reduced recruitment cost and staff retention has been increased.
KPMG recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce and sees this as strategic gains.
Following are the various HR practices that have been implemented in KPMG. Supports the firm in matching workforce deployment with fluctuating business demand and thereby improves overall performance and efficiency.
Glide Time -this is about working core hours (10.00 am to 4.00 pm). Working hours starts between 8.00 and 10.00 am and finishes between 4.00 and 6.00 pm. So the normal lunch time is also available.
Additional Holiday Purchase – extra days can be brought as holidays
Unpaid Leave – three months of unpaid leave may be taken if entire outstanding holiday break has been used
Career break – there is an opportunity to take a break in between work life after at least serving two years in the organization
(Source: KPMG HR policies)
PwC’s HR Policies
Coming to PWC’s HR policies, this is another example of improving the existing policies. The key challenges here were- this is a Professional services firm, as highly client-centric organisations, it tends to be characterised by a long hours, extremely undisciplined work culture.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has therefore been leading the drive to flex and adapt corporate structures to respond to the increasing demand – from the business and from our people – for flexibility and work-life integration.
As employees are all different, PWC started recognising the diversity in workforce. In fact the meaning of work-life balance varies according to peoples’ perspective.
Individuals must take responsibility for their own work-life balance and be considerate of others’ needs.
They seek to achieve the optimum balance between business and employees’needs.
Working hour flexibility is another important proposition that has beenintroduced in the organization.
Quality of output is more important than the number of hours worked- so,quality of the output should be judged.
Policies the entire employee can apply for:
Flexible working patterns
Flexible leave arrangements
Employee Assistance Programme
Compassionate and emergency leave
Lifestyle management support and training
Policies for parents:
Extended maternity leave
Fully paid paternity leave
Time off for dependants
As a result of all these,
Employee satisfaction has been increased
Staff retention has also been improved
Due to various maternity benefits, joining after a maternity leave has also been increased
Attitude of the employee has been changed, as well as the management has become more empathetic towards the workforce. The trust factor has also been improved.
(Source: PwC HR Policies)
A comparative study of Quintiles & other companies
Flexible working patterns
Work from Home
Choice of Shift Timing
Extended Maternity Leave
Inter-countries/ Intra-countries Transfer options
Lesser working hours (8.5 hours)
Additional holiday purchase
Lifestyle management support and training
Compassionate and emergency leave
Flexible leave arrangements
Online Availability of intra-organization career growth opportunities
Employee Assistance Programme
The above table clearly shows the comparatison of HR policies in the respective companies.The survey results are based on a survey(Refer to the Appendix: Survey questionnaire). We had prepared a questionnaiare which was used to gauge the Work life balance Condition among Indian Employees in general and a questionaire online survey specific to Quintiles employee. Out of the response we got we found the result as below:
Analysis of the survey (overall).
The age group from 21-26 of IT employees were the people with less stress and better life. Inspite of not very balanced diet. Some were disappointed of the fact that there is nothing challenging on their work place to look for. And it is too much of life and no work(especially TCS employee’s with experience of <1yr to 3 years). The People working in Education sector proved to be good at balancing work life balance having good time with family & achievements in work place. Few were complaining about minor work related health problems like hyper tension.The set of people who showed dissatisfaction about their present organisation and work life balance were mostly people working in Consultant roles. Complaining about little time with family, Obesity and heavy work load.The above analysis was based on sector wise. People who did not mix family and work hours or thinking about work at home viceversa looked more
Responses – Quintile
Satisfaction about the time you spent with your family
75 % Yes
60 % yes
Worrying about work (when they are not at work or traveling to or from work)
24% say more than 2-3 hours per day
55 % say more than 2-3 hours per day
Missing out on any quality time with family/friends because of pressure of work
28 % Likely
59 % Likely
Feel tired or depressed because of work?
36 % sometimes
Aware of policy that stresses on work life balance
26 % yes,
49 % maybe, I am not aware of
People who suffer from stress-related health problems
19 % yes
35 % yes
Rating of their organization, based on work life balance
78 /100( rating on scale)
56/100 (rating on scale)
Involvement in quality work & positive result in workplace
Enthusiasm to work and achieve
41 %, Daily
25 %, Dailysatisfied.
Special observation from Quintiles survey:
Out of 80% of the people, are satisfied with Quintiles after changing their jobs from previous company . For reasons like:
Work Shedule, Career growth opportunities, Salary, Work Life Balance, Job satisfaction, Working hours, Challenging work , flexibilty etc
The overall survey response showed that the secret behind good work life balance & professional success was:
Good HR Policies, practices & work culture in their companies.
Good eating habits & diet
Good time for self, family & kids
Physical exercise & recreation
Kind of organization, job profile & location
And mainly Time management
Recommendations to Quintiles for better performance to achieve close to 100% employee satisfcation:
21 to 25
26 to 32
33 to 38
39 to 45
46 to 52
3 Marital Status
Engaged (soon to be married)
3a If married, is your spouse employed too?
4 Designation in your organization
4a When was the last time you felt good about your job, project completion or any work related achievements?
Few months ago
Few years ago
4b How often do you think about making a difference in your organization, by supporting the organization to achieve its objective and goals?
Once in a year, when I see other getting achievement awards
Less than Once a Month
Once a Month
2-3 Times a Month
Once a Week
2-3 Times a Week
4c How do you grade your response with respect to below? (LEAST TO BEST); eg: i am not friendly – least, I am very patient – best)
______ Relation ship with peers (friendly)
______ While peers or clients are asking doubts about some issue with work (Patience)
______ Building rapport easily
______ Would love to hangout with peers during non working hours
______ Might end up being best friends with peers (probabilty)
______ How is your relation ship with your boss?
5 Do you stay with your family?
5a How often do you spend time with your parents, wife or kids in following ways? (Choose one option of time under each category, if applicable)
At home/ watching TV
At home helping wife & parents with house work
With kids helping with their home work/projects/ teaching/playing
Go out for movies/shopping/ fantasy parks/ parties
< 1 hour
2 to 4 hours
4 to 6 hours
> 6 hours
Answer If Do you stay with your family? Yes Is Selected
Q12 Are you satisfied about the time you spend with family?
ƒ° Yes ƒ° No
6 Kind of organization
Fieldwork/ Work involving travel ling (Sales, people interaction..)
Service, Consulting, Research (white collar jobs)
Security services (Army, police department,..)
7 How many days in a week do you normally work?
Varies based on projects in hand ( 0 to 7)
8 Do you spend more than an hour traveling to your workplace?
9 How often do you worry about work (when you are not at work or traveling to or from work)?
More than 2- 3hrs everyday
Everyday once in before sleeping/ soon after I wake up
once in a week
twice or thrice month
once in a month
10 Do you ever miss out on any quality time with family or your friends because of pressure of work?
11 Your work hours fall in the category of
8 to 10 hrs
Late afternoon – late night
12 Which of the following do you think will hinder you in balancing your work and family commitments?
Long working hours
Meetings/training after office hours
13 Do you feel tired or depressed because of work?
14 Does your normal day, routine consist of any of the following?
Other recreational activities
15 Does your company have policy that stresses on work life balance?
May be, I am Not aware
16 If yes, what are the provisions?
Flexible working hours
Holidays/ paid time off
Career break sabbaticals
Relaxed Maternity leaves & benefits
Work from home
Transfer options to other location with similar work, as per request
17 Does your organization provide you with following additional work provisions?
Telephone for personal use
Counseling service for employee
Social networking sites, to interact with friends
Parenting or family support programs
Exercise facilities( GYM, YOGA, MEDICATION CENTER)
17a How often do you make use of it?
Very Often, I am fitness conscious
Once in while. when friends call
May be will use in near future
No time , but if I find time will definitely go regularly
No time , always loaded with work
Never been there before may be I should try it some time
18 Does your organization encourage the involvement of your family members in work- achievement reward functions?
18 Do you suffer from any stress-related health issue?
19 If yes…
22 Do you Smoke or Drink
Yes , occasionally
Yes, More than once per day
Yes, I am addicted
Yes, trying to quit
23 Do you think that if employees have good work-life balance the organization will be more effective and successful?
Neither Agree nor Disagree
24 How long have you been working in the current organization?
right from the day I joined
< 1 year
1 to 3 years
3 âˆ’ 6 years
> 6 years
25a If you have changed your job, previously at least once what was the reason?
24b Were you satisfied with new work place, with respect to the reasons for which you changed to your new employer?
25 How much would you rate your organization, in terms of the following?
______ Work-life balance
______ Career Growth opportunity
______ Friendly environment
______ Traveling on Job opportunity
______ Salary for the amount of work I do
______ When Compared to my previous organization/ similar organization in terms of all the above
26 I love my current Organization!
Neither Agree nor Disagree
28 Your concerns about this survey, any suggestions for improvement in succeeding Work-life balance!!
Q29 Were you aware that Quintiles is one of the TOP50 companies in India “to work for”.
Q30 Any thing that you think makes your organization the best place to work? (Eg: work life balance, employee engagement programâ€¦)
From email follow up telephonic Interview with Senior HR, Mrs. Shubha Gangolli based on survey & others:
1) Governing body of Quintiles?
I can think of US FDA & DCGI
2) HR Policies?
We have policies on the following to help employees achieve work life balance
1. Work from home
2. Home- based
3. 4 Months Maternity leaves as against 3 months per the market
4. 5 days Special Leave apart from other Privilege leaves, casual &sick leaves- Paid leaves for employees to spend time with their families
5. Transfer options to different locations or different countries
6. Flexible timings
Some of the above are for certain lines of business
3) Different career opportunities?
We have a dedicated website for career ladders where employees can view the next steps in the same business line & in various other business lines. This site also has the job descriptions of every job available in Q across the globe.
4) What are the factors that matters while deciding
a) Workinghours, timings & shifts of employees
Work hours – Q follows 8.5 hrs of work per day.
Office timings: The core office hrs is 10.30am to 5pm. The timings are flexible for general shift employees
Shifts: we have 2 shifts operations; 24X7& general shift options available based on the business there are in. This largely depends on the type of business line & the contract we have signed with eh clients.
5) Different locations of Quintiles and which region has which functions:
I have given details of business lines in India only. There are many other across the globe.
Clinical Operations – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore &Ahmadabad
Corporate Support – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmadabad& Delhi
Data Management, Biostatistics – Bangalore
Laboratory – Bangalore & Mumbai
Regulatory and Drug Safety – Regulatory is inAhmadabad& Drug safety is in Bangalore
Biostatistics – Bangalore
Med writing – Bangalore & Mumbai
Phase 1 – Hyd
6) What is your response to survey results?
With this information you might notice some trends, which are team, specifies EG. Some teams are stressed & some are ok with WLB. Some teams working in shifts are faring better in WLB than general shift.. etc.. May be dept to dept, we can observe trends.. Pharmacovigilance is more stressed. Data management is less stressed.
Interview with employee:
Describes his job & says, “I would like to refer my friends who are working in the same line to join Quintiles “
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