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Managing Work/Life Balance Issues: An Examination of HR Practices Within a New Zealand Hotel Managing Work/Life Balance Issues: An Examination of HR Practices Within a New Zealand Hotel Elizabeth Roberts, Bond University, Australia David Williamson, Auckland University of Technology, NZ Carmen Tideswell, Southern Cross University, Australia

Purpose of Study n The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify what, Purpose of Study n The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify what, if any, work-life balance polices and practices are operational in a five-star international hotel in Auckland New Zealand

Overview n Defining Work-Life Balance “Work life balance is about effectively managing the juggling Overview n Defining Work-Life Balance “Work life balance is about effectively managing the juggling act between paid work and the other activities that are important to people. It’s not saying that work is wrong or bad, but that work shouldn’t completely crowd out the other things that matter to people like time with family, participation in community activities, voluntary work, personal development, leisure and recreation” Source: www. dol. govt. nz/worklife/whatis. asp

Overview n Work-life balance is increasingly an issue for New Zealand. Jobs, the workplace, Overview n Work-life balance is increasingly an issue for New Zealand. Jobs, the workplace, and the workforce are changing as: ¨ ¨ ¨ More women and sole parents go to work Around 20% of the population juggle more than one job The workforce ages and is more diverse Businesses continue to compete globally to hire skilled workers Technology changes the way we work Source: www. dol. govt. nz/worklife/whatis. asp

Overview n For New Zealanders, the two biggest work-life balance problems are: ¨ People Overview n For New Zealanders, the two biggest work-life balance problems are: ¨ People with not enough work or income ¨ People who have too much work: the low paid who need to work long hours to earn enough and the higher paid who may feel trapped into working more hours than they want to.

Overview n n Since 1989, there has been growth in non-standard employment (such as Overview n n Since 1989, there has been growth in non-standard employment (such as that undertaken by the selfemployed and contractors). Working hours have changed. The trend has been away from the standard full-time week (30 -50 hours) towards the part-time group (1 -29 hours per week)and those working ‘over-time’ (50 hours per week or more).

Overview n n n Younger skilled workers (so-called ‘Generation X’) expect to be able Overview n n n Younger skilled workers (so-called ‘Generation X’) expect to be able to combine work with other activities including travel and career breaks. New Zealand is in a global competition for skilled labour. Many of those who stay, come or return to New Zealand cite the lifestyle benefits of living here – a ‘great place to bring up children’. New Zealand remuneration is strongly influenced by industry labour unions, formal employment contracts and legislation such as the 15% incentive for working holidays under penalty pay legislation.

Literature Review n n Less research on work-life balance in Australasia than in the Literature Review n n Less research on work-life balance in Australasia than in the U. S. , U. K. and Canada (Hobson, Delunas & Kelsic, 2001). Literature suggests New Zealand Australia tend to lag behind other developed countries Boxall, Mackey, & Rasmussen, 2003 ¨ Callister, 2004 ¨ Di Ciere, Homes, Abbott, & Pettit, 2005 ¨ Pocock, 2005 ¨

Literature Review n n New Zealand hospitality industry is more recent than its European Literature Review n n New Zealand hospitality industry is more recent than its European and U. S. equivalents (Roberts, Williamson, & Neill, 2006) Has not introduced family friendly policies stressing its female employees Brownell, 1998 ¨ Li & Leung, 2001 ¨ Mooney, 2007 ¨ Parasurama & Simmers, 2001 ¨

Methodology n n Case study methodology including interviews with key informants. Exit interviews with Methodology n n Case study methodology including interviews with key informants. Exit interviews with 166 hotel employees elicited both qualitative and quantitative data.

Scope and Limitations n n n Exploratory study, not possible to make broad generalizations Scope and Limitations n n n Exploratory study, not possible to make broad generalizations Data elicited from only one hotel over a two year timeframe Lack of relevant research to define current “best practice” for comparison

Findings n n n The hotel is widely considered an “employer of choice” in Findings n n n The hotel is widely considered an “employer of choice” in Auckland. The hotel provides all employment benefits as required by New Zealand law. Few practices that can be specifically identified as work-life incentives.

Impact of Work-Life Balance on Exit Decisions Positions of exiting employees Impact of Work-Life Balance on Exit Decisions Positions of exiting employees

Impact of Work-Life Balance on Exit Decisions Departments of exiting employees n Departments with Impact of Work-Life Balance on Exit Decisions Departments of exiting employees n Departments with more autonomy appear to experience less turnover

19 Reasons Given for Exiting Hotel n n n n n going to travel 19 Reasons Given for Exiting Hotel n n n n n going to travel (22) moving out of Auckland (21) dissatisfaction with management (18) going to study (12) another job offer (12) better pay elsewhere pursue change in career away from hospitality (11) better working hours elsewhere (inc. not doing shift work) (9) no opportunity for future job development (8) family reasons (7) not getting enough work hours (6) become self-employed (5) time to move on (5) job was not challenging enough (5) cannot get to work (transport problems) (3) physical stress of job (2) disciplinary action (1) other reason (8) Total 166

Reasons for Leaving Related to Work -Life Balance Going to travel 13. 3% Going Reasons for Leaving Related to Work -Life Balance Going to travel 13. 3% Going to study 7. 2% Pursue change in career away from hospitality 6. 6% Better work hours elsewhere (incl. not doing shift work) 5. 4% No opportunity for future professional development 4. 8% Family reasons 4. 2% Physical stress of the job 1. 2%

Professional development n n Generation Xers, in particular, are highly attracted to companies that Professional development n n Generation Xers, in particular, are highly attracted to companies that will invest in their ongoing professional development Hotel staff, typically, view training as a significant employment benefit.

Hotel Sponsored Work-Life Balance Initiatives n Offered Annual “Health and Well Being” week ¨ Hotel Sponsored Work-Life Balance Initiatives n Offered Annual “Health and Well Being” week ¨ Discounts for gym memberships ¨ 40% discount on food and beverage within the hotel ¨ Shopping discounts at local businesses ¨ n Not Offered ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ Flexible hours Option of working from home Childcare assistance Paid education benefits Private health care plan Superannuation scheme Subsidised parking The initiatives made available to staff are not explicit formal work-life incentives but rather activities related to employees’ wellbeing.

Implications n n Conservative business practices and high returns expected by hotel owners do Implications n n Conservative business practices and high returns expected by hotel owners do not allow much scope for work-life balance incentives. The impact of the hotel environment on employee decisions to leave and the international research showing the ability of work -life incentives to reduce turnover warrant further attention from hotel senior management.

Further Research n Two areas warrant further investigation ¨ Human resource management within New Further Research n Two areas warrant further investigation ¨ Human resource management within New Zealand hotels ¨ The effect of the lack of work-life balance initiatives on hotel employees in New Zealand

Summary n n The evidence from this study suggests that the New Zealand hotel Summary n n The evidence from this study suggests that the New Zealand hotel industry currently lags behind other service sector providers, such as banking, in implementing formal work-life balance policies and practices. As such, they may be missing out on the benefits reported in overseas research for example reduced turnover and greater productivity.