Quality work life programs are decisive programs, policies and procedures sponsored by the companies for their workforce to assist them attain success and profitability within and outside the workplace. Over the years, leading organizations and institutions have succeeded in implementing quality work life programs that address labor concerns and the needs of the workforce. However, experts claim that these projects with time have dropped short in their goals failing to reach the maximum predicted outcomes. These studies have shown that organizations have only applied these programs as a measure to be a step ahead of their competitors in business and that the initiatives themselves are fads and trends in today’s market environment. As the financial specialists have said, these organizations will be faced by an extra cost by implementing these programs causing a potential loss of the company profits.
Stakeholders are persons or sections who are essentially intrigued in the achievement or downfall, financially and otherwise, or any plans or ideas of a certain company. Consequently, these stakeholders will be majorly affected by these plans. The workers and the directors being at the forefront of the stakeholders who will be significantly changed by these plans implemented (Spellman, Ruth, 2010). However, it is the management who will give the go signal, upon evaluation of the viability and economic consequences, to continue or hinder implementation of the project and the other minor stakeholders in the company may take part in the decision making.
After the go ahead is given by the administration, the workforce is first trained on the influence of these methods on value-formation about the labourforce and its efficiency within and outside the organization. This measure is to ensure that the program not only improves work values among the workers but also prompt them to be more fruitful. The programs also enhance their awareness of security within the organization. The audit and review units of the company will then evaluate the expenses in executing the projects, give the management a critical analysis of the favorable and unfavorable factors, and propose sound judgment and recommendations to be met before implementing the programs. The appearance of certain specific units in the organization will save the company further costs as to the security aspect, and they can also be chosen for a suitable and efficient dissemination of data to concerned persons and groups belonging to the company. This will enable the programs to strengthen harmony and unity among the stakeholders of the organization helping them to work together towards a mutual goal, which includes the assurance of monetary security and progress of the company.
The administration ought to develop a precise evaluation policy on safety of these programs. This policy should be beneficial and flexible to all phases of the projects regardless of the recipients’ expertise or technical knowledge and skills in any distinct field or area of interest. Consequently, desirable results of the plans will mostly depend on the efficient utilization of this evaluation policy and may then be implemented in other segments of the company. This will further empower the organization to organize all plans of the various sections within the company, giving them more liable and engaged in maintaining the security of the business plans at a reasonable level.
Another important issue that must be addressed upon implementation of these plans is the preservation of the aging or mature, but extremely qualified and proficient workers in the corporation (Yakaback, C., 2012). Failure by the company to analyze the obstacles and the level of job fulfillment of these seasoned workers lessens, it will suffer invaluable services and substandard expertise leading to extra costs in the long run. The experienced workers in the company should be protected and be involved in the organization’s decisions as well. Therefore, particular quality work life programs must provide focus on the urgent needs of valuable segment of the workforce to further improve their level of achievement and responsibility to the company throughout their remaining productive years. In a poll documented by the GOA, it has been ascertained that the aging workers who feel the recognition of their employers are more willingly carry out their services in the company and may stay as long as they are needed, and for those who think that their informations are not appreciated by the masters they strive for, are expected to move out of the company either to resign first or leave and work for another organization.
Implementation of quality work-life plans suggested a substantial amount of opinions that significantly influence the effectiveness of the plans themselves. Therefore, this article principally strives to interpret and assess the parts that have encouraged these difficulties. This paper will also try to offer strategies and methods which the administration can change to develop a more positive behavior among its workforce considered by human resources managers as the backbone of business organizations and in every country’s economy. With the international expansion and competition increasing from day to day,the administration, as well as the partners of the companies must empower their respective quality work-life programs to meet the needs of the time and appropriately prepare for the difficulties of the future.
Basic Issues and Research Questions
In this research, I will also provide an emphasis on the concerns that may influence the effective implementation of the work life programs in labor organizations. The purpose of this document is to provide the people with relevant answers to the reflecting fundamental questions that must be given priority actions by the management, they are:
Does the administration of the companies possess a better perception and awareness of the kinds of quality work-life programs that are suitable for their particular workforce?
What are the possible difficulties that the company may likely to face once full implementation of the programs commence and their impact on the overall goals and purposes of the partnership?
In addition this paper will also discuss the following: a) various kinds of quality work-life programs that can be adapted by labor organizations, and, b) the dilemmas that the structures encountered when the plans were put into operation
The human resource department of every organization plays a major role in developing labor practices and reforms that are designed to meet global standards and regulations before executing them. It was also been proved that the quality work life programs and effectiveness can be appropriately measured and assessed by a qualified HR department. This has greatly added to the unit’s continued progress and development within the organization. The HR department is also tasked with the extra duty of making sure that corporate ethical policies and standards are rigorously followed alongside the implementation of said programs. Through the guidance of the HR unit, the owners of these companies to this day are more inclined to approve work life programs for their workforce to achieve the following purposes: a) to increase job satisfaction among their employees, b) bring conceivably productive and skilled new workers, and 3) bypass future costly civil rights lawsuits.
Earlier surveys and researches administered regarding this subject established that the workers are much happier, productive, and secure with their jobs if they feel that their company values their work inputs and truly cares for their needs within and outside of the workplace (Amabile, T. & Kramer, S., 2012). Companies who choose to customize the quality work life programs for their employees were also found to have employees who are pleased with their jobs, they are motivated towards achieving the goals and objectives of the company, and theyare productive and more likely to stay with the organization. These employees are also effective in their work and are not easily affected by stress-related issues.
Current studies also revealed that the investment in workforce capital has attributed to keeping the market environment vigorous and aggressive, as termed by labor specialists. The report ‘Talent Management’ showed that about 40% of business companies are more than willing to change quality work life programs to ensure the retention of their current aging workforce because of their ability, experience and skills. The companies are also installing plans to lure and hire brand-new employees with highly-qualified abilities and competencies and improve the level of job satisfaction among their workers. Business organizations today have to invest all possible resources in the company to understand and achieve the company goals and objectives. These resources, time, effort and money encourage the workers to feel the importance of their positions to the success of the company.
In a study done by McKinsey in 2006, it was ascertained that companies who invested on quality work life programs and general medical and health insurance policies for their workers attracted a substantial percentage of possible and highly-qualified recruits while at the same time retaining their skilled and reliable mature workforce. Retention and recruitment are two of the many factors that serve as signs of how effective work-life plans are to the employees and the company. Still in a different study approved by the Center for State & Local Government Excellence, administered by the Princeton Survey Research Associates, it was further ascertained that the impact of quality work life programs and health insurance policies as best considerations of potential applicants in accepting job offers. The aging workforce of organizations were also found to be satisfied with their work and are more favored to stay engaged to the companies, thus, reducing training expenses for current employees and improving sustained productivity of the surviving workforce. These plans not only help the companies save on extra expenses for their recruitment and training activities, but also make profit for the companies. It is since competent to conclude that business organizations have now come to realize the value of making their workforce satisfied and feel secured in their jobs with the adaption of these work-life projects. A more desirable and more certain economic outcome rests on the smooth-sailing performance of the businesses that will hugely benefit both the employees and the organization.
In a separate study done by the School of Business Administration of the University of Vermont, it confirmed that service-oriented companies specializing in research analysis, financial advising, law, health care providing and consulting firms were the ones who circumspectly invested on such quality work life programs to enhance the skills and knowledge of their mature workforce, to make them more focus and satisfied with their jobs and encourage them to stay committed to their companies. In their research titled ‘Implications of an Aging Workforce on the Development of Human Capital,’ they were also able to establish that a looming labor shortage will likely occur in businesses concerning health care, education and in a significant number of blue-collar businesses where the aspects of productivity and profitability may lead to serious economic losses. Companies retaining their mature workforce have to their advantage years of experience, acquired and nurtured skills and knowledge of their work and high level of job satisfaction and commitment. Issues on job lay-offs, wage discrepancies and bonuses and benefits reduction are factors that force mature workers to resign from their jobs, never to return or maybe find work from other companies which will value their inputs. Business organizations will likely lose their most productive and skilled workers if they continue to ignore the justifiable demands and needs of their mature workforce (Ranjani, K., 2012).
Quality work life programs must be adjusted to the needs of the organizations’ mature workers and the financial capacity of the companies to finance the programs. The effects of these projects to the concerned unit of these companies will be immediately felt among the bottom level of operation. Choosing to replace the aging workforce with new recruits can potentially cost the companies 50% or more of the concerned individuals’ salary which will be
Allotted for their work training programs, as explained in a study by Towers Perrin. The additional costs for training new employees can go as high as 150%, according to other reliable researches, especially in situations where the workers to replaced are highly-skilled professionals. It is for this reason that the more established companies such as Home Depot, CVS, and Volkswagen choose to retain their respective aging workforce by instituting work life programs that cater to their worker specific and immediate needs.
State and Federal laws were enacted to protect the rights of the workers and also educate them on their obligations as adhered by the Constitution. The following are some of the laws that pertain to recruitment practices that guarantee equal opportunities to everyone and minimize discrimination in employment:
Human Rights Legislation and Equal Opportunity Commission Act of 1999
Equal Employment Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act of 1999
The Disability Discrimination Act of 1992
These legislations advise business organizations to strictly observe the provisions related to their goal of implementing work life programs in their workplace, bearing in mind that discrimination of potential applicants for their workforce as to their age, gender, nationality, cultural background, religion, sexual preference, status, physical handicaps, health conditions, social origin, membership or non-membership in labor unions and other related organizations may put concerned organizations in legal jeopardy (Inc.com, 2002). The companies must also remember that hiring of new employees must be in accordance with theirrespective skills andknowledge of the job, their abilities to meet the demands of the position and knowledge and respect of the regulations and policies of the companies to which they aspire to work with. The recruitment program must not only be free from discrimination but must also be above any political or social patronage.
Labor unions also play an important role in the success or failure of quality work life programs. Not only are they established to protect the rights of their members in the labor environment, but also to encourage and assist business organizations in implementing plans and programs that will improve the quality of life of the workers within and outside the workplace. For the past few years, unions have taken an active part in organizing their members to participate in company-sponsored programs that will improve their working conditions alongside wages and benefits issues and aspiring to include the communities where the organizations operate, to make them a better and safer place to live and work with. However, some of these labor unions have become highly-politicized and have been investigated by authorities for their shady and scandalous connection with organized crime groups.
As the economy of the world becomes more competitive and globalized, unions must take the initiative to promote quality work life programs that will create balance in the life of their members within and outside the companies. There are a lot of these programs that unions can choose from and recommend to the management to implement which will create stress-free and pressure-free working environments. Unions may also consider adapting the most appropriate human resources principles that can be tried first in a particular department and if proved to bring success, can then be implemented in other departments as well (Labour.gc.ca, 2012).This action will promote unity and harmony within the organizations where there is a strong presence of cultural diversity. Respect for the cultural differences among the company’s workforce by adapting diversified HR practices and principles and must be sensitively implemented to achieve the desired outcomes. Not only are unions supposed to be concerned with their members’ working environment and conditions, but must also take an active role in evaluating the impact of global competition and expansion on the labor environment as a whole. Present day unions must also create work policies and strategies for the effective management of union information, enhancing workers’ job efficiency and productivity, fight for just compensation and benefits package for the members and support programs that aim to provide continuing education and skills development for union members. Labor unions must also be involved in the aspect of data management of the organizations and assure their members of constant and two-way communication between the management and the workers, whose best interests the unions represent. They, the unions, have to make sure that such policies and programs are at par with international standards and global recognition.
Workers expect their unions to fight for changes and reforms that will serve their best interests and for their advantage. Challenges brought about by the continuing competition among business organizations, and plans of global expansions, must be met headway by labor unions by devising effective strategies and plans that will counter the negative impact of such business trends to the workforce. Labor unions must focus their action plans on the following areas of concern:
Job Security. Unions must assure their members of the security of their positions in the organizations. Economic security for themselves and their families free the employees from worries and stress that eventually affect their focus and productivity. The aging workers are not to be forgotten, the unions should fight for their job security. Creating a healthy working environment for their members means recommending to the management strategic plans for workers’ retention and job security and that termination of employer-employee relation will only be possible if the workers become liabilities to the companies.
Just compensation and Expanded Incentives/Benefits Package. The workers in the company are to be compensated an amount relative to their workforce and inputs they put in the company. Performing workers can be given incentives and should not be based on discrimination or patronage. It is in this regard that unions must stand up and fight for fair and just payment of labor rendered by their members for the organizations. The unions must also protect and defend the interests and rights of the workers for information on profits generated by the companies and incentives that must be given to outstanding workers as their fair share of the businesses’ net profit which the law approved to be about 3 to 5%. This particular incentive of the organizations will inspire the workforce to be more determined and productive in their job.
Promoting multi-tasking, re-training and continuing education of the workforce. The unions must support company-sponsored programs of this nature, for the benefit and development of their members. They also have a role in educating the union members about the benefits they are likely to get when they commit themselves wholeheartedly to such management initiatives. If there exists culture diversity among the workforce, these specific programs will breakdown cultural barriers and will promote unity and sharing of knowledge and culture towards a common goal.
The employers must recognize the outstanding performance, productivity and commitment of their workers not only through their wages,healthcare coverage, welfare, and retirement and pension plans but also through rewarding them with cash gifts and incentives. These monetary rewards must not be considered perks but just compensation for the outstanding work and dedication given by the workers to the organizations. This particular cash reward program falls under the fringe work life plan of the company. However, the initiative poses tax payment issues that must be addressed properly so that the beneficiaries of the program may fully enjoy the reward they deserve for their labor. The following are payroll-related issues that employers will likely encounter once this specific program is implemented in the organizations:
Insufficient knowledge of specific laws and regulations imposed by the State and Federal government on wages and fringe incentives and rewards;
Inability to justify existing and proposed expenses for the implementation of work life initiatives that are economic in nature;
Failure to distinguish taxed and tax-free incentives covered under the work life programs;
Inability to properly account salary and time components within negotiated employer-employee business set-up. This problem commonly occurs because of miscommunication, inability to properly educate the workers on laws and regulations on cash rewards and incentives, payroll management and accounting of rewards, allowances and other monetary undertakings that maybe taxable and non-taxable as the laws require.
Taxation of wages and other monetary fringe benefits must be adequately explained to the workforce. Failure of the management as well as the unions to do so will be an injustice done to the workers who deserve the rewards.
To address such issues, the management, through the efforts of supervisors and managers, must inform beneficiaries of such cash reward initiative, of the basics of tax laws applied on such programs properly equated with hours and wages legislations.
Work life programs are the initiatives of concerned organizations as the main stakeholder in the business environment. However, the success or failure of such programs largely depends on the open and constant communication between the management and the workforce to achieve desired outcomes. Organizations which choose to implement work life programs are expected to shoulder the total costs of the procedures which include planning, implementation and funding the related programs. Since the organization extended time and monetary investments for such activities, the outcomes favorable to the companyand returns of the investments made will include; A higher level of job satisfaction, retention of productive and mature workers and increased productivity among the workers leading to client satisfaction and increased financial performance in the organization.
Organizations must take great concern on the health and wellness of their workforce, particularly the aging workers. Health and wellness programs must not only focus on the employees but should also be extended to their families as well. Programs of this nature will encourage workers to take a proactive approach to their health and wellness and must then include programs that will systematically minimize performance-inhibiting and morale-draining stressors within and outside the workplace to improve their work life effectiveness. In medical parlance, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Addressing the issue before it happens will significantly reduce cases of high percentages of health claims, paid and unpaid sick leaves, absences because of health concerns and lack of focus during work because of stress and worries in the future. These factors greatly affect the productivity of workers, so it is imperative for organizations to invest on the health and wellness of their workforce.
In implementing programs on health and wellness, companies can initiate business partnership with health and medical providers, health professionals such as doctors, nutritionists and fitness instructors, and organize on-site work life seminars on stress reduction, financial planning, parenting and other related activities. ‘Health is wealth,’ so, a healthy workforce can bring in significant profits to the company. The health and wellness of their workers must be a permanent concern of the companies, so it will be wise for the organizations to closely monitor their workforce by regularly conducting medical and health check-ups, regulating the quality of foods sold in the canteen and vending machines, and conducting health promotion seminars.
Keeping their workforce fit and healthy, and free from health problems and stressors is aimed at increases the level of productivity of the companies and at the same time, reducing potential costs that will be paid to hospitals and medical and healthcare providers for sick workers. A fit and healthy workforce is the central premise of a sound and effective work life program on employee health and wellness.
Companies must also make sure that the policies and programs provided for their workers on healthcare, education, performance management, compensation and skill development are of global standards (HR Council, 2012). The organizations must also address issues about the safety and security of the workplace and the quality and effectiveness of wellness programs that will benefit the organizations as a whole, and for a long period of time.
The companies, through their work life programs, can also initiate activities and plans that minimize stress and pressure affecting workers’ efficiency at work. Meetings conducted every week will monitor the progress and effects of the programs to the workers.Social gatherings held every other month will promote unity and camaraderie among employees. To relieve workers’ stress and worries, the companies can also sponsor events that will enhance organizational support and quality work life programs. The organizations can also reward the most outstanding employees with incentives and cash gifts that will uplift their morale and attitude towards their work and will also encourage others to achieve the same (HR Council, 2012).
Implementation of these programs must be coordinated with the workers and in some cases, with the unions which represent them. Costs in the implementation of quality work life programs is immaterial to the organizations in cases where the outcomes are positive and beneficial to the companies. Such as, happy and satisfied workers, increase in productivity and smooth-sailing operation or production, and retention of competent and reliable workforce committed for the success of the organizations. In some cases, organizations have initial apprehensions and doubts to the effectiveness of the programs, but, as it have been proven by more established companies, caring for their workforce is the best investment a company can risk in.
With this information, companies can also hire professionals who are experts in such undertakings, who will plan, implement, evaluate and assess the value of these programs and select which is the most suited to meet the interests and needs of the workforce. The companies, on the other hand, must make sure that the workers are adequately informed of the nature and projected outcomes of the programs and their approval secured. Quality work life programs must also pass the standards set by concerned State and Federal agencies and are bound by legal and lawful legislations to protect the rights of the workers (EEOC, 2012). Before implementation, work life programs must have the stamp of approval of the organizations’ stakeholders namely: management/owners, workers/employees, and the unions. The entire organizations must be enlisted for support through team buildings, open communication through feedbacks, and, critical evaluation of the outcomes by key team members. The organizations must also make provisions to immediately address problems that may hamper the smooth implementation of the programs like delays, oppositions to the programs and additional expenses that go beyond the approved budget. The entire project should be documented for book keeping and future references for improvements. The process should also be monitored regularly to evaluate its progress and effects and immediately take care of any problems that may unexpectedly arise during the implementation stage. Employees must be informed and oriented at the very start of the programs and not only at the conclusion of the process.
From the materials and evaluation of the details of the subject, it is safe to conclude that quality work life programs are essential both to the management and the workforce. They are not just trends but effective strategies to improve the business environment and enhance the quality of life of the workers and their families. It is the primary responsibility of the employers to assure their workforce that they are very much valued by the companies. It is also evident thatprofit is not the be all and end all of the business community but the satisfaction and retention of valuable employees who are the heart of every economy in the world. Quality of work life programs must be implemented based on the evaluation and decision of the organizations’ stakeholders and must be keyed on higher quality of life in the workplace for the satisfaction and retention of employees.
We can conclude that quality of work life programs must focus on attainable goals such as: 1) Improving the standards of living of the employees, 2) Increasing productivity from the available resources, 3) create a positive behavior among workers, and 4) increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the organizations when it comes to profitability and goal accomplishment. Strategic and timely implementation of the programs must be properly aligned with the companies’ schedule of operations to avoid production delays. Effectiveness of the programs will be compromised if such problems are not immediately remedied and can be further compounded by unnecessary budget excesses.
All concerned stakeholders of the organizations must be properly notified and informed way ahead of the scheduled implementation of the programs so that changes can be accommodated to satisfy the interests of concerned parties. Organized documentation of the whole process must be provided to the management to serve as company records and approved by the stakeholders.The purpose of documentation is to be able to monitor the development and progress of the entire programs, formulate policies and set goals for the employees to work for and the management to support.
For the work life programs to succeed and to be effective, the employers must exert all efforts and means to identify and evaluate the immediate needs of their workforce.
The effectiveness of such programs can be measured by the following indicators: 1) workers’ job satisfaction, 2) high percentage of worker retention and productivity, and, 3) workers’ commitment to the organizations they work for. To put it simply, a happy and satisfied workforce leads to high level of productivity which equals to customer/client satisfaction and improved financial performance of the companies. Humanizing the workplace means valuing the contributions of the workforce in the growth and success of the organizations.
Workers are motivated to give their best if they feel that the organizations are treating them with respect, fairness, equality and justice. Patronage and discrimination in the workplace must be avoided at all cost. Perceived fairness and equality among the workforce foster a higher level of trust, commitment and productivity that will greatly benefit the organizations in the long run.
Amabile, T. & Kramer, S. (2012, May 6). BusinessWeek. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from BusinessWeek: http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/02/employee_happiness_matters_more_than_you_think.html
EEOC. (2012, May). Employer Best Practices For Workers With Caregiving Responsibilities. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from HR Specialist: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/caregiver-best practices.html
HR Council. (2012, December 9). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from Employee Benefits Compensation & Benefits HR Toolkit: http://hrcouncil.ca/hr-toolkit/compensation employee.cfm
Inc.com. (2002, January). Retrieved June 10, 2015, from The 4 Hiring Practices of Highly Successful Organizations, Recruiting Article: http://www.inc.com/articles/2002/01/23815.html
Labour.gc.ca. (2012, December 9). Chapter 5: Challenges and Best Practices – Transforming the Adversarial Relationship to a Collaborative One. Retrieved June 13, 2015, from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/labour/labour_relations/wsfps/page05.shtml
Ranjani, K. (2012, January 20). The Aging Workforce: Trends, Factors, Retention Strategies & Policy Implications: HR Human Resources. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from HR. Com: http://www.hr.com/en/app/blog/2012/01/the-aging-workforce-trends-factors-retention-strat_gxmrj4uf.html
Spellman, Ruth. (2010, June 1). Managers must protect work-life balance of staff. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from The Guardian careers: http://www.hr.com/en/app/blog/2012/11/ceridian-whitepaper-retaining-and-supporting-matur_h9k13s9a.html
Yakaback, C. (2012, November 15). Ceridian Whitepaper: Retaining and Supporting Mature Workers: HR Human Resources. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from HR.COM: http://www.hr.com/en/app/blog/2012/11/ceridian-whitepaper-retaining-and-supporting-matur_h9k13s9a.html
ur text in here…