Work/life balance is a very broader term and often referred to finding the right equilibrium between the different aspects and roles in a life of a person. Although there are different views and concepts about work/life balance but it is generally coupled with maintaining an overall balance in different aspects of life.
During the last decade technological revolution has stormed all aspects of life and there were different debates about the future of work. Different scenarios predicted a rising trend in un-employment and economic insecurity. Industrial restructuring and emergence of latest technology no only affected the importance of workforce but it was also felt that employees will be treated as superfluous overheads.
In this study of work/life balance the main objective will be to examin the ability of employees to handle concurrently the versatile demands of life at Nestle International. Work/life balance demands the right balance and equal amount of time devoted to official as well as personal life. The theory of this concept is not that simple and requires many developments and additional components to be incorporated. There are three different levels of equilibrium that affect the work/life balance.
History of Work/Life Balance:
During the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of work/life balance was a new one and was basically used for those working mothers who usually struggle to cop up the requirements of their jobs as well as raising their children. However during the 1980s the importance of work life balance acknowledged all over the world and many multinational companies introduced the policies and measures to secure the rights of the workers and tried to maintain a right balance in their culture. By the end of the decade, work-life balance was seen as more than just a women’s issue and male workers also raised their voices.
By the mid of the 1990s work-life balance became a fundamental issue for individuals and it became a necessary part of the strategies of all the organizations all over the world. This growing awareness of the central importance of the issue resulted in major growth in attempted work-life solutions during this decade and many new studies and ideas emerged.
As for today the situation has changed drastically and many changes have been made in labour law regarding the protection of rights of the workers and these changes in laws also have a significant affect on HRM policies and strategies of the organizations.
Why Work/life Balance so Important?
Over the past few decades, there has been substantial increase in work which is felt due to a very stiff competition in global markets and ever increasing pressure and demands from the organizations that expects more and more from their employees yet offers a very little security and compensations in return. For many employees today including both male and female their lives are becoming more complex and difficult with an increased burden of family and other personal responsibilities and interests. Therefore, in an effort to retain employees and maximize their performance, it is increasingly important for organizations to recognize this balance.
This increased pressure has affected the life of worker at Nestle International in many ways. It is not only harming the social norms but also causing many physical and psychological diseases such as heart problem, weak immune system, stiff muscles, exhaustion and jumpiness etc. Increased working hours means there will be very less time to be spend with family and community. If an employee is not mentally satisfied or balanced, he will not be able to perform his duties with due diligence and care.
Now, however, things have taken altogether a different turn. Employees’ quality of work-life is becoming a burning issue all over the world. For a growing number of employers, human resource challenges are their biggest concern. Leading employers are recognizing that positive work-life outcomes for employees – from achieving work-life balance to the satisfactions of challenging work and career development – are key ingredients of a successful business strategy. In practice, improving the quality of work life remains a tough challenge. Naturally, many managers see the important links between the quality of work life and organizational performance. Yet they face barriers to progress. So it is necessary to update the case for taking action to improve the quality of jobs and work environments.
A happy and well balanced employee will not only perform his daily operation with utmost care but will also be able to avoid different complex social problems. Work/life programs will not only help to boost employees’ morale, reduce absenteeism, preventing the outflow of valuable information of the organization in difficult economic situations but will also reduce the cost and affect the overall performance of the company. It is very important for the human resource professional to understand the critical issues of work/life balance. Be it employees whose family members and/or friends are called to serve their country, single mothers who are trying to raise their children and make a living.
Objectives of the Research
To understand the concept of work/life balance.
To understand the importance of a good and happy relationship between employer and employee.
To evaluate the importance of work/life balance from the perspective of both the employer and employees.
To explore the work/life balance at Nestle International.
To evaluate the strategies of management at Nestle International and their role in maintaining work/life balance.
To find out the solutions of different problems faced by the Nestle management in maintaining work/life balance within the organization.
Importance of Work/life Balance from the Perspective of Employer:
A balanced culture/environment in any organization will not only be helpful for employees in different ways but it will also provide many tangible benefits to the business. Implementing work/life balance provides an excellent opportunity to consult with staff to review the job design and develop innovative and supportive work practices. This sort of consultation will ensure the needs of individuals are met and a more agile workplace is achieved. It will also lead to a greater level of employee commitment to the success of the business. By minimizing the employee’s turnover in organization you will not only boost your repute as a good employer but it will also help to achieve the quality standard of products out prevent the outflow of valuable inside information to other organizations because if a skilled worker will leave the organization it will take a hell lot of time any money to replace him with some other suitable person.
Importance of Work/life Balance from the Perspective of Employee:
The For human being, home is a shadow of heaven on earth where he goes and takes rest but due to imbalance structure between work and life it has become an additional place of work with plenty of office tasks and assignment. Any human being will be able to perform his duties and tasks deliberately only when he/she has a right balance in between his/her official and personal life.
A balanced and happy employee is more likely to perform better at work and can provide many tangible benefits for a business. There are new ways to make work ‘work’ that benefit both employers and employees. In fact, research shows that flexibility is a critical component of workplace effectiveness and that employees who work in flexible and effective work places are more likely to:
Be engaged in their jobs and committed to helping the company succeed.
Plan on staying with their employers.
Be satisfied with their job, which translates to good customer service.
Exhibit better mental health and wellbeing.
“Nestle is a Switzerland based company, founded by Henri Nestle in 1866. The success story of transforming a single man’s idea into a giant corporation started from developing a milk food formula for infants by Mr. Henri in 1866. Soon the Nestle products became a success and more and more businesses wanted to merge or start a partnership with Nestle. In 1905 Henri Nestle joined hands with a Swiss milk company and the company’s name became Nestlé & Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. Then in 1929, Peter-Cailler-Kohler Chocolats Suisses S.A. merged with the company. The name was then changed to Nestlé & Anglo-Swiss Holding Co. Ltd. In December 1947, company acquired all the shares capital of the Alimentana S.A. Company in exchange for fifteen Nestlé shares and fifteen Unilac shares for each of Alimentana S.A. share, and the name was Nestlé Alimentana S.A. And then finally, the last name change that the company would endure was in 1977, where it adopted the name Nestlé SA” (www.nestle.com).
Today Nestle is one of the biggest giants in the food and beverage market of the world and it is marketing its products in almost 130 countries of the world. The company is manufacturing roundabout 10,000 different products and employing over 250,000 people all over the world. The company is selling almost a billion products everyday. The headquarters of Nestle are situated Vevey, Switzerland, but the operational facilities of the company are spread all over the world. The company not only increasing its size year by year but also increasing its product varieties.
Nestlé’s Greatest Asset are its Workers
The slogan of Nestle that its people are their greatest asset is very much true as they care a lot about their people and encourage them to bring out the best in them. At Nestle it is made sure that people benefit maximum from their work at Nestle. What binds together the over 250,000 people across the world is a universal culture and a high degree of loyalty – to the Company and to each other. The employees are encouraged to contribute in the company success by introducing new and innovative ideas. Above all, Nestlé is genuinely international. One simple example is that around 80 different nationalities are represented among the 1,600 people in our Head Office. Each year a thousand people from all over the world come to our Training Centre in Switzerland. The corporate values of Nestle are:
The Concept of Work/life Balance at Nestle International
Nestle is following the United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) guiding principles that insures the human and labour rights and aim to provide an example of good human rights and labour practices throughout our business activities.
At Nestlé it is truly believed that there must be a good and healthy balance between the private and professional life of an employee. This thing not only increases the reputation of Nestle as a good employer but also helps to retain the most valuable people of the organization and reconciles economical essential with welfare. Employees who wish to take part in community welfare programs voluntarily are supported at Nestlé. In the same character, Nestlé encourages flexible and friendly working conditions so that stress factor can be reduced up to the minimum level. Everyone has to find their own balance between work and other activities, but as a company we encourage all our employees to pursue interests outside the workplace. As football is the natural favourite Sports in European region so most Nestlé units sponsor at least one football team.
Nestle supports many cultural activities and home study programs in countries all over the world. One of the biggest evidence of good work/life balance at Nestle is that it enjoys one of the highest percentages of employee’s retention among the top multinationals of the world. Pre-retirement classes and facilities for retiree activities are available in many countries. Nestle also supports one of the largest retiree club with more than 1,000 members actively participating in events ranging from climbing, skiing and cycling to foreign travel, fitness and computer classes at its headquarters at verve, Switzerland. In addition, several of them take part in local volunteer projects such as delivering meals to other Nestlé retirees in the region.
Role and Strategies of Management in Maintaining Work/life Balance at Nestle
One of the greatest debate is who bears the biggest responsibility in maintain equilibrium between official and personal life of a person? But according to the given circumstances the major burden definitely falls on the employer and those who are the part of senior management because these are the people who demand as much as work from their employees and tries to minimize the cost on the verge of a limited work force. Things have changed a lot now because different research works have showed the physical and mental health effects of heavy work load which ultimately affects the productivity and profitability of the company in the long run.
At Nestle it is made sure by the management that an appropriate work-life balance exists in organizational culture which means employee will be at less risk for many serious health conditions that result from overwork and stress. Overworked employees not only exposed to many serious physical and mental diseases but also face many problems and issues in their social and family lives. This is a very alarming situation because those employees who spent the most of their time at work are usually error prone.
On the other hand those employees who spend most of their time at off-work activities will usually be un-productive and not reliable. Such individuals are found in every office and they are major concern for the management.
So it is the responsibility of the Nestle management to address the problems of these individuals. Management should encourage these individual to contribute more towards productivity. If an employee spend four hours working at home and solves more problems by working at home than at office , he should be encouraged by the Nestle management.
At Nestle International top management offer different workshops and informative seminars to employees about work-life balance, and should make sure that the policies regarding these issues must be followed strictly. Different technologies have been introduced to employees, which help them in creating the right balance between their lives. Here are some of the strategies used by the Nestle management to enhance work/life balance in organizational culture.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
At Nestle International the introduction of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provide easy, free and confidential access to professionally trained counsellors to help the employees to overcome a large variety of professional and personal problems.
Conveniences at Work
Employees at Nestle International are offered different features in order to make their work convenient and easy such as:
On site parking
Bonuses at all levels
Parental Leaves are available for female and male workers to help them to see off their social responsibilities.
Nestlé offers medical and other visionary benefits packages to meet the health needs of not only their employees but also their families and domestic partners.
Benefits of Maintaining Work/life Balance at Nestle International
Talented and highly valued employees are the most important corporate resource of any company and it is not very difficult to get such talented employees so in order to retain them a flexible and balanced environment must exist within organization and organizational culture at Nestle fully demonstrate such features.
If the employees will be satisfied they will be more focused and confident towards their work and by providing a right balance between the personal and professional lives Nestle ultimately enjoys a constant product quality and customer satisfaction.
A balanced employee not only enjoy a happy personal life, avoids different risks relating to physical and mental heath but also add up to the reputation of Nestle as a good employer.
By employee retention Nestle not only saves the outflow of very valuable information of the organization but also minimizes the additional cost required to train the new employee to bring him up to the level of expertises of the existing employee.
The main objective of this research is to create an understanding of the importance of work/life balance in the lives of employees as well as in the progress of the organization.
General method to collect information for the purpose of conduct a Research
Following are some of the method to collect information in order to carry on research.
It is a method used to collect the information directly from people. It is consider as a realistic source of information which provide an opportunity for analysis. Moreover it provides more current information as compare to other source. it is considered to be the primary source of information. It also contain different options
Interview is another way of collecting data for conduction research. We can conduct different kinds of interview to find out the reasons of any problem. it is a direct face to face communication through which one can receive direct feedback on any issue under consideration. It is also one of the realistic sources of information.
Studying the different documents and Survey Reports
It is also an effective way to develop an understanding of different topic related documents and surveys which enable us to carry the research in an effective manner. These surveys enable us to develop an understanding on that specific issue in wide scope.
Observation is also an effective tool to collect information regarding customer expectations and factors which boost up customer expectation. Observation also helps to collect information regarding customer taste, marketing trends and rival competitive policies
Discussion with expertise
Carrying on discussions with those who have a vast expertise of understanding customer behaviours and mental situations. Through this we can extract very important information for the real purpose.
Studying different kind of case study is also enable us to enhance our understanding with the real topic and provide us very valuable information and clears the idea of main concept.
The data collected through a questionnaire circulated and interview conducted at Nestle will form the base of this research work. The above mentioned questionnaire will consist of different questions relating to the work/life balance and it will target a group of 20 workers selected through random sampling representing the population as a whole.
For the purpose of reference and other historical information different books, journals, articles and websites will be consulted.
Time frame for completion of research is as under:
Data Collection (Primary & Secondary)
Drafting & Composing