Top-Ranked Companies Promote Work-Life Balance

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<p><strong>Greensboro, N.C. &mdash; June 26</strong><br />Contrary to conventional wisdom, encouraging employees to find time for their families and life outside of the office is good for business.&nbsp; </p><p>According to <em>Fortune </em>magazine&rsquo;s ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For 2007, four of the best 25 companies also received high marks for promoting a healthy work-life balance.</p><p>Joan Gurvis, campus director of the Colorado Springs Center for Creative Leadership and co-author of &quot;Finding Your Balance,&quot; isn&rsquo;t surprised. </p><p>&ldquo;Having employees whose work and personal lives are balanced has tangible benefits &mdash; not only for the employees but for the organization overall, including an increased ability to attract and retain skilled people and higher levels of production, satisfaction and morale,&quot; Gurvis said. &quot;The best companies experience employees performing more effectively in teams and report decreased levels of burnout and absenteeism. Retaining employees is more desirable than recruiting for high turnover.&rdquo; </p><p>From spending time with the CEO outside of the office to reimbursing employees&rsquo; adoption and/or fertility treatment costs to paying for business school, the most common theme among the top balance performers was planning for and incorporating into their businesses employees&rsquo; priorities outside of the office &mdash; in short, the top companies listened to their employees.</p><p>Addressing employee retention issues is one of many topics addressed during one of the Center for Creative Leadership&rsquo;s flagship programs: the Leadership Development Program. </p><p>Gurvis has been teaching the weeklong program for nearly seven years, seeing about 2,800 corporate, nonprofit and government executives annually.&nbsp; </p><p>She consistently sees work-life balance play an integral role in an employee&rsquo;s job satisfaction and happiness.&nbsp; </p><p>The Center&rsquo;s&nbsp; research supports Gurvis&rsquo; classroom experience: More than 50 percent of respondents to a recent online survey the center conducted said that &ldquo;too little time for personal interests or relationships&rdquo; contributed to feeling out of balance.</p><p>This was followed by &ldquo;pace of my job&rdquo; (49 percent), &ldquo;attempt to fulfill others expectation of me&rdquo; (36 percent) and &ldquo;financial pressures or goals&rdquo; (31 percent). </p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very encouraging to see work-life balance being recognized as a defining characteristic for what makes a great company,&quot; Gurvis said. &quot;It seems like common sense that low employee turnover is good for business. Happy employees want to help a company&rsquo;s bottom line, but many executives don&rsquo;t see this connection initially.&nbsp; </p><p>&quot;Additionally and more importantly, they don&rsquo;t often realize that their own behavior and comments about life outside the office says more to an employee than anything stated in a company manual.&rdquo; </p>

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