Home' HR Monthly : December 2015 Contents 6
To read past Perspective columns by
Peter Wilson, visit hrmonline.com.au
THE SPACES BETWEEN US
Finding harmony between a family life and a career is the hardest challenge
and the most rewarding achievement.
BY PETER WILSON AM, AHRI CHAIRMAN
HOW CAREER AND LIFE OBJECTIVES ARE IMPACTED BY
values, priorities and expectations was the subject of a fascinating
study at a recent symposium of the US Families and Work Institute
(FWI). The results are comparable to what the Australian Human
Resources Institute (AHRI) has seen emerge in Australia. FWI
surveyed over 2000 respondents in Fortune 500 companies to pinpoint
what drives emerging professionals to succeed. The study also looked
at how employees perceive senior leaders in their organisations
compared to how those leaders see themselves.
Evidence from the USA and Australia shows that men and women’s
career advancement ambitions are not much distinguished by
gender: the importance attached to earning more money; nurturing
and developing other people’s talents; greater influence over an
organisation’s culture; doing work that has a positive impact on the
world; and challenging and developing oneself are pretty much shared.
But it’s at the nex t level that the FWI results show disparity between
When it comes to motivation, women assign a much higher value
than men over ‘how, when and where I work’. Women are not only
more conscientious in managing work-life balance well, but they are
still taking primary responsibility for childcare in most families. This is
especially true when there is a family crisis, as the woman is usually seen
by both sexes as having the duty to drop everything and be there.
Women in double-income couples or where they are the sole earner
reported greater difficulty than men with relocating to another
location in their country, working more than 50 hours per week and
interrupting a family vacation to deal with a business issue.
In terms of supporting a partner’s career, women outperform men
the higher they are promoted. Of women managers and team leaders,
88 per cent have employed spouses and partners, compared to 78 per
cent of men. At the group and senior executive levels, these percentages
fall marginally for women to 80 per cent but significantly for men to
55 per cent.
There are two reasons for this. Men in senior roles are more likely
to have a female partner not working or not there. Women in double
income couples are also more willing to delay having children or have
fewer children in order to help manage both careers and sustain the
At all professional levels, women perceived their male partners
doing less childcare and housework than the men’s view of what they
were doing. As a corollary, men saw their female partner doing fewer
home repairs than the women believed they were doing. For same sex
couples, the evidence is that domestic roles are more equitably shared,
and perceived to be shared.
Parent- child expectations for double-income couples are also
mismatched. Parents believe their kids wanted them to have more
quality time at home, whereas the same children most wanted their
parents to be less tired and less stressed whenever they were at home.
The image and self-image of bosses produces interesting data.
Those at the top value things that motivate career advancement just
as much as their subordinates, even though the latter group believe
the boss values such drivers by about 20 per cent less, on average.
The main reason is that bosses don’t demonstrate this is their
behaviour. They don’t show genuine interest in and care for their
team members’ personal lives, advocate telework advantages and
actively encourage flexible working arrangements.
Emerging evidence shows that employees who give equal weight
to work and life priorities perform better than
the ‘workaholics’ and have greater overall
satisfaction. They are also more at ease
managing a family crisis, attaining materially
greater longevity with their current employer
and have a higher likelihood of reaching career
The implications are clear – bosses who can
walk the talk on all the career objectives they
share with their subordinates will encourage
greater employee productivity,
engagement and performance. Male
professionals need to talk more to
their female partners, while both
need to listen more acutely to what
their children actually want.
Easy to say, but finding the
courage to do it can be hard – except
we now have really strong evidence
that it’s well worth the effort.
We don’t just talk business,
we mean business.
Power2Motivate is used by many
of the world’s most recognised
brands like ANZ, Colgate-Palmolive,
Aristocrat and Sofitel. These
companies trust Power2Motivate
to provide world-class employee
recognition programs that drive
behavioural change and improve
performance right across their
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17/11/2015 4:15 pm
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