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Value of flexible opportunities for employees in workplace

Case Study: The Probuild Constructions Story

Prebuild Constructions was established in 1987. The company has been involved in such major projects as the new Grandstand at Flemington Racecourse, the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre and Toyota’s corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne.

In May 2005, Probuild successfully applied for a Victorian Government Better Work and Family Balance grant. The company wanted to investigate work-family balance at Probuild and develop a program that would work for the employees and the company. A working group made up of staff, union and management representatives was established to oversee a survey of all staff and the development of initiatives as part of a work-family balance program.

The survey, distributed to all 150 employees in Victoria, was designed to:

•  Gather information about the work, family and life pressures currently impacting on them and their families.

•  Assess initiatives already in place to assist staff to manage these pressures.

• Identify new initiatives that would have the greatest impact on staff satisfaction.

To gain a picture about the impact working at Probuild was having on families, a separate survey was also prepared and circulated to the partners/ wives/ husbands of all employees.

The response to the surveys was very good, with a 57 per cent return rate from employees and 70 per cent return rate from their partners/ wives/ husbands. Overall, employees reported that they were happy working for Probuild but that the constant pressure and long hours made it very difficult to successfully combine work and family. Several responded that the long hours- particularly working Saturdays- were having an adverse impact on their personal relationships.

And the response from employees’ partners/ wives/ husbands was even stronger. They reported that the long hours and workload meant that they had to take almost full responsibility for day-to-day household management and family care, even though many were engaged in paid work. Probuild decided that the response from partners required further discussion so invitations to take part in a focus group were sent home via payslips. Sixteen partners/ wives/ husbands took part in the focus group. This led to recognition that the company’s work-family balance strategy needed to include:

• Flexibility for different employees and their families to make choices that suited them best, with acknowledgement of the differing needs of salary and hourly rate.

• Reassurance that taking up work-family balances options would not undermine anyone’s employment or position with Probuild.

• A commitment to reducing the number of Saturdays employees are required to work.

Working from all the information gathered by the survey and the focus groups, the working group met regularly to move the Probuild project to its next steps. A work-family policy was developed based on these five guiding principles:

•  All initiatives must be of mutual benefit to the individual and company.

• Achieving better work and life balance is a team effort involving individuals and managers.

•  There is not one solution that will meet everyone’s needs.

•  Hard work can be done flexibly.

•  Good communications are fundamental to success.

All employees and their partners/ wives/ husbands were invited to attend a major launch where they received an information pack outlining how the company intended to develop a better work and family culture. The pack contained a booklet to provide practical information for staff and their partners so they could assess their own needs and then set and achieve goals to bring about better work-life balance. Following a launch, specific action plans were developed to address key issues. An intensive training, development and coaching program was instigated for managers and performance review processes were changed to ensure that every employee’s work and family needs are documented.

Probuild Constructions was an Award Winner at the 2009-10 National Work-Life Balance

Awards, in recognition of its outstanding achievements in providing innovative work-life balance solutions in the construction sector. Probuild was also awarded the overall National Award Winner of the 2009-2010 National Work-Life Balance Awards, acknowledging its outstanding achievements in providing innovative work-life balance solutions in the construction industry. For Director of Probuild, Ted Yencken, the new work-family balance program is a key element in Probuild’s ability to retain and attract employees. Ted suggested that “the development of our work/life balance policy, principles and programs are the fundamental steps to creating a workplace culture which will be more supportive of work and life balance and which will deliver better outcomes for business.”

(Extract taken from the Probuild Constructions case study, “Better work and family balance- moving to a more family friendly construction industry’, irv.vic.gov.au)

Task:

Based on the above case study, write an essay that answers all the questions:

1. Why do employees value opportunities for workplace flexibility? Would this strategy work in all organisations and industries?

You should critically analyse your answer in terms of work-life balance theories.

2. Is it possible for companies to be competitive and at the same time create a workplace that provides for flexibility and work-family balance?

You may relate your answer to the flexible work arrangement theories, business competitiveness theories.

3. What other flexibility and work-family balance strategies could Probuild have adopted? What do you believe the productivity outcomes and benefits of such a program would be to Probuild?

You may develop your arguments in terms of work life balance/ contextual, culture and job restructuring at the workplace, impact of work-life balance on employee wellbeing, performance, satisfaction, employee retention strategies etc.

Possibility of businesses to provide flexibility and work-family balance

The study is all about the Probuild Construction organization different strategies which they adopted regarding their employees and organizational benefits. There is an description about different opportunities provided by Probuild to their employees regarding their work life balance and performance. The report is having discussion after analyzing the present scenario of Probuild construction and different strategies adopted by the organization. Probuild construction Pvt. Ltd is one of the best national level contractor based company whose main operation area is Australia. The report is based on the analysis and evaluation of the operations which are performed by Probuild Construction Company as per their client. Probuild is a contract based company i.e. they perform construction operation as per their customers (Parboteeah and Cullen, 2011). The report is having brief discussion about the strategies adopted by Probuild construction company for making working environment flexible for the employees and other strategies which company adopted for making their stand in competitive environment. There is also a discussion about the outcome and benefits which will be achieved by Probuild after they have adopted work life balance and business environment strategies. After analyzing and evaluating all the case studies as mentioned in case study some recommendations are given in this report.  

As mentioned in case study flexibility in workplace helped Probuild organization to build strong bonding among the employee and organization. Flexibility in workplace provides high commitment of employees toward their job as well as organization. Flexible work in Probuild includes part time work hours, work from home, sharing of job, flexibility in start and end time and other facilities which motivated Probuild employees (prezi.com, 2015).  Probuild construction follow work life balance theory which helped organization in motivating their employees maintaining proper balance between their work life and personal life. As commented by (Ahlvik and Björkman) to live a proper life family friend, work all are necessary and employer should always help their employee make a proper balance in all 3 of this. If employees are given proper instruction in starting that how to maintain work life with personnel life, they will be motivated to perform better. As mentioned in case study Probuild construction received National work life balance award in 2009 which shows that the organization follow proper strategies for making their employees balance their work life with their personal life. As Probuild is a construction based company so to get better performance outcome, management of Probuild should always focus on their employees’ health. Flexible opportunities provided by Probuild construction to their employees are as employees were given opportunity of choosing their work starting time in a ethical manner (Ricardo de Souza Freitas, José Chiappetta Jabbour and César Almada Santos, 2011). If suppose any employees got any injury or health problem he/she would be provided with primary health care and then further care as per needed. As mentioned Probuild took a survey with their employees and their families for analyzing the scenario or problem which they all are facing regarding work life and professional life balance. As discussed in case study Probuild construction is famous for their work life balance strategy adoption and its positive outcome which increased company’s profit and productivity suddenly. Probuild construction to maintain work life balance focus on the proper and open communication strategy among employees and employer, feedback survey in relation to work from employees family members. Probuild constructions always try to create a positive and best suited environment for their employees which help Probuild to motivate their employees to maintain work life and personal life balance (Rowley and Warner, 2013). As mentioned in case study Probuild avoids giving work load to their employees as they always try to choice job sharing option. Job sharing strategy is adopted by Probuild construction to distribute job equally among the employees as per their skills and knowledge regarding the job.

Other flexibility and work-family balance strategies adopted by Probuild Constructions

Work life balance theory help every organization in motivating their employees work better as it provide different opportunities in workplace regarding working time, place and work style but in a ethical manner. Every organization will get benefit of work life balance strategy as it will help organization as well as their employees. Different methods which are commonly used by every organization to help their employees in maintaining work life and personal life balance are as sharing of job, flexibility in starting time of work, flexibility in work place and others.

Probuild construction adopted work life balance theory to achieve competitive advantage while their working process. Probuild construction as mentioned in case study has achieved success in maintaining their flexibility in workplace and balance among both work as well as personal life. Work life balance theory adopted by Probuild helped them in motivating their employees to perform better by which Probuild company productivity as well as profitability was increased. Flexible work opportunity gave probuild employees choice their work starting time which suited them best and the place of work (Slideshare.net, 2014). If employees are given chance for choosing the time of starting work and best suited place or location of work then will be influenced to provide positive outcome to their organization. Different flexibilities which were provided by Probuild to their employees are flexibility in time and wok location, work from home option if possible, proper scheduled off days from work so that employees can spend time with their family and friends. Rotation in job time i.e. employee who is comfortable with morning should be given morning and others. As mentioned in (Amann and Stachowicz-Stanusch) to increase their profitable in comparison of their competitors Probuild adopted job sharing strategy so that no employees is having work load, every employee is provided with a proper job as per their skills, knowledge and capabilities. The main advantage of job sharing in Probuild was that the tasks assigned to employees were finished on time which makes good impression in front of customers. The strategy adopted by Probuild to balance their employees work life and in the achieving higher profit in comparison of their competitors were as work life balance strategies, proper wage structure of every employees and other. Probuild construction adopted work life balance strategy to provide their employees flexibility in working hours, starting and ending time of work, providing them less working hour on Saturday and etc. To implement these all strategy in Probuild management of company started doing survey with the help of employee’s families, friends and employees themselves (Slideshare.net, 2015). As mentioned in case study company distributed survey paper to all 150 employees of Victoria office to identify the effect of working hour and environment on employees personal life. In contrast to this () for increasing competitive advantage organization should try to maintain a proper communication among employee and employer. Good communication cycle will help in knowing easily the problem of employees regarding the work. Probuild construction always tries to avoid long hour working for their employees as it can harm their health which may affect company’s productivity. Figure 1 represents the different work life balance strategy adopted by Probuild to achieve competitive advantage.

Figure 1: Probuild Work life balance strategy

The main objective of adopting work life balance strategy by Probuild is to maintain their hard working, most reliable, high profitable company reputation in the market which always helped them in achieving competitive advantages. Work life balance strategy adoption by Probuild also helped in building strong bonding among employee and employer.

In contrast to work life balance Probuild adopted a new strategy work family strategy which helped organization in motivating their employees in marinating a proper balance between their work life and other life. To get a positive competitive advantage company require focus on their employee requirement as well as their needs. Work family policy was adopted by Probuild taking into consideration the major problems which their employees use to face in balancing their work life and other life (Pain). Probuild should try to provide their employees paid parental leave as well as work from home facility to their female employees if they want (Slideshare.net, 2015).  The most important factor on which Probuild should work is their female employees who participate in both in house job and field jobs. As stated by (Anon) organization can never fulfill every employee needs and requirement but if before making any change in their policies and strategies company properly survey employees and their family members, they can know the exact problem. The flexibilities provided by Probuild to their employees regarding work environment, time and other factor helps in motivating their employees to perform better. But on the other hand as stated by (Anon) Probuild should try to provide flexibilities to their employees as per their position in organization. If middle level employees and upper level employee are provided with the same work flexibility then Probuild may suffer in their work. Probuild construction organization provide their employees many flexibilities like starting time and work location as per the choice but Probuild should always work in a ethical way because it is evaluated by a research (Anon) that if people are provide with high privilege regarding work there demand will be increased and they may affect organization work environment. Work family balance strategy adopted by Probuild should be in favor of every employee, if organization ignored any employee he/she can be de motivated regarding his/her work which can harm organization productivity. Work family strategy adopted by Probuild can only be profitable for organization when their senior management have high level commitment for the organization and their work. To make successful work family strategy Probuild should always monitor their communication among the employees and employer. It was found by a research (Anon) that if construction organization like Probuild provide their employees flexibility and effectiveness in workplace regarding their work time, location and other factor employees will show more satisfaction for their work and loyalty towards organization. Probuild while planning their work family strategy should consider work responsibilities and impact of it on their family. Suppose if employee is suffering from severe health from and he/she is not providing with proper leave, the result of this will be from both employee as well as their family. (Anon, 2015) commented on this as to motivate employee to an employee perform better organization should always consider their family members while planning any flexibility and work family balance strategy. The other strategies which Probuid construction can adopt are as part time work policy, access to employee child care by providing shift work and etc, job mobility as per the employee’s skills and knowledge. 

The outcome which Probuild achieved by adopting these strategies are as their employees motivational rate was increased which raise their profit and productivity share. The new strategies adopted by Probuild are flexibility in work time, job sharing and flexibility to work from home, choice work location and work time as per individual choice. Probuild provided flexible work schedule so that employee can balance their work and other life at the same time without affecting the work. Job sharing strategy adopted by Probuild helped them to finish their task on time without giving work load to their employees (Parboteeah and Cullen). The adoption of new strategies helped Probuild to build strong bonding among employer and employees, increased loyalty level of their employee towards their work and organization. By a research (Campos e Cunha and Cunha, n.d.) it was found that if both parents are working with a heavy workload every time than their children will be affected in negative manner. In contrast to this (Anon) commented that if parents are working in such a organization who provide them flexible working time and location their children will be having different qualities and thoughts regarding family and other relationship in comparison of other children (Small Business - Chron.com, 2015). Probuild work life balance strategy help their employees to arrange time for their children and other family members or any other work apart from office work. The new strategy recommended above paid parental leave will also help Probuild construction to maintain a proper employee employer relationship, as employees will be assure that if they want they can take few days leave for taking care of their parents which is very important part of every individual’s life. As mentioned by (Cullen and Parboteeah, n.d.) if employer helps employee to create openly and honestly support between their work and personal life, it will attract new employees with high level of trust and loyalty towards their job and organization. Strategies like flexibility in child care, part time work and work shifts can help Probuild to retain more new employees with more concern towards their task. 

Probuild is a construction company so maintain employee and employer relationship by providing different rewards and flexibilities can increase their employee performance as well as organization profitability share. The main role of Probuild human resource management department is to plan and implement strategies within the organization which help in increasing their productivity and retention. As mentioned by (Garcia-Carbonell, Martin-Alcazar and Sanchez-Gardey) Probuild hrm department have different set of responsibilities as recruitment and selection of new employees as per the requirement of organization, plan compensation strategies by taking into consideration both employee and organization, training and development strategies and plan so that employee get influenced to perform better and etc (prezi.com). One of the major responsibilities which managers of Probuild are having is motivating and influencing their employee to perform better. Probuild hrm always try to plan such a reward and pay structure so that their employees find it beneficial. Human resource management of Probuild help organization to gain their employees trust and loyalty regarding their job and responsibility as said by (Kim, Kim and Hong) if employer want their employee to perform better they should always provide them a good pay structure as per their roles and responsibilities. Human resource management department always plan new strategies taking into consideration their employee roles and responsibilities as well as organization gain in terms of finance as well as market reputation. As mentioned by (McEwen, 2011) if human resources management department of any organization is good and supportive for their employees, employer profit and market reputation will automatically increase. Human resource management department of Probuild should always analyze the new strategies adopted by them as mentioned in case study some strategies are flexibility in work time and location, work life balance strategy and etc. As commented by (Noe and Noe, 2012) human resource management people functions are as to analyze the roles and responsibilities of their employer, plan new strategies in favor of both employee and employer, increase the level of retention, recruitment and selection as per the requirement of Probuild, evaluate the problem which employees are facing regarding the work and other life balance process and other. Human resource management department is the backbone of any organization as they have to work for both employee and organization benefits. As commented by (Paauwe, 2004) the main focus point of Probuild human resource management are productivity, quality of work and the services provided to their employees. Work life balance strategy implemented by human resource management department helped Probuild in many ways as in increasing their employee reliability towards their job and towards the organization.

The main challenges which human resource management department of Probuild face while managing their human resource are as in planning strategies and action which will work as per all employees , so that all employees are benefitted by strategies equally. Commented (Pain, 2014) that any organization cannot fulfill each and every employees needs and demand regarding flexibility and other strategies in work place. Every employee are having their own problems and they want flexibilities as per that only, so the main challenge which hrm of Probuild face is in deciding a strategy which is helpful for every employees and no employee feel ignored. Probuild human resources are their employees who are having different sets of problems and want which managers find difficult in managing (Rowley and Warner). As mentioned in case study Probuild managers evaluated more than 150 employees and their families before implementing work family balance strategy but on the other hand Probuild managers faced many problems in deciding what flexibilities should be provided to their employees so that it does not affect organization working environment. Managing human resource is very difficult task as everyone has its own belief and style of working (Working-moms.yoexpert.com, 2015). The other challenge which Probuild human resource management faced was regarding pay structure of their employees, that is managers always tried to convince their employees regarding their salary so that employees can perform better. As mentioned in case study human resource management department of Probuild construction found difficult in managing their employees i.e. the line manager and staff manager. Probuild managers after analyzing the problems faced by their employees in balancing work life and their personal life decided to implement work family balance strategy and flexibility in work time and location.

Conclusion

The study is all about the Probuild construction company different strategies which they adopted in favor of employees as flexibilities in work time, location and work family balance strategy. Probuild is a construction company so main factor on which they depend is their employees and clients for which they work (Rowley and Warner, 2013). Probuild construction is a contractor based company i.e. the take different task from customers or by any third party which they have to complete in given time duration. The main problem faced by human resource management department of Probuild is maintaining coordination and proper communication among their line staff and managers. Probuild managers implement new strategies only after evaluating the problem faced by their employees in workplace. Human resource department of Probuild focus on the communication among employee and employer, maintain new strategies and old strategies balance adopted by organization.

References

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