مطالعه اکتشافی از ادراک کارکنان هتل در درک مسائل مربوط به تعادل کار و زندگی
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2009, Pages 195–203
This paper explores hotel employees’ perception on work–life balance issues. In-depth interviews and self-administered questionnaires were used to collect the data. Factor analysis discovered seven factors: (1) enough time-off from work; (2) workplace support on work–life balance; (3) allegiance to work; (4) flexibility on work schedule; (5) life orientation; (6) voluntary reduction of contracted hours to cater for personal needs; and (7) upkeep the work and career—the determinants perceived by employees to attain “better” work–life balance in the dynamic hotel environment. Adopting an employee-centric and integrative approach are the critical success factors for implementation of a work–life balance program.
Long working hours, shift duties and handling demanding and difficult customers in hotels has become a take-for-granted phenomenon in the hospitality industry (Hsieh et al., 2004 and Sarabahksh et al., 1989). This stress creates a demand on an individual to make a decision on the balance between work and family. People have difficulty working in different roles or even multiple roles (as a supervisor in work, a parent at home, a child helping elderly parents in a Chinese cultural context) which leads to stress (Grandey and Cropanzano, 1999). In 1991, Nelson-Horchler conducted a survey and discovered that only 36% of the respondents rated a job as the most important priority in their lives. This finding was echoed by the generation X’ers emphasis on quality of life (Report, 1999). In other words, if employees feel that work–life is not balanced, they may leave the job and seek “quality of life”. Using a work–life balance approach to mastermind employees’ well-being has emerged as a strategic human resources management tool (method or issue) in the western world. Staines (1980) conducted a literature review of relationships between work and non-work. However, while there is solid debate about work–life balance in the context of long-hours culture (Cushing, 2004), MacInnes (2005) argued that there is little relationship between workers’ family situation and preferences for working fewer hours. On the other hand, there are many cases that suggest that work–life balance assists in retention, productivity and the recruitment of good staff (Evans and Vernon, 2007 and Pocock, 2005). In general, hotels provide a traditional remuneration package to employees for the purpose of attracting talents and increasing retention rate. It includes “benefits” such as leave for getting married, compassionate leave, holiday house, office parties, and training courses for personal development, etc. Many benefits are designed to be family-friendly to balance shift workers’ family needs due to their erratic job nature. However, from the perspective of work–life balance in today's working environment, these “benefits” tend to be segmented and can only be regarded as a piece-meal approach to staff support. In a workplace that is characterized by long and irregular working hours, are the existing “family-friendly” related practices adequate for employees to deal with their daily family responsibilities? Do they take into account and individual's needs? The hotel industry in Hong Kong has experienced an amazing recovery since the dark days of SARS1 in 2003. Over the past few years, the government has put in a constant effort to bolster Hong Kong's tourism. Tourism has grown so extensively that it now plays a significant part in the local economy. With an addition of 12,326 new hotel rooms set to open in Hong Kong between 2007 and 2009, the employment market in the hotel industry is envisaged to remain extremely buoyant such that career opportunities with good prospects are plentiful (Wong, 2007). Subsequently, there has been a noticeable uplift in demand for talent in the hotel industry. Hoteliers in Hong Kong are now facing not only an increased turnover and poor staff retention locally but also have to compete in the regional market for skilled talents with neighboring Macau and economic power China. As work–life balance is relatively new to Hong Kong, it is worth studying its possible application in a context characterized by long and irregular working hours. The government's recent implementation of 5-day work week2 for civil servants has also stirred up many discussions and one primary focus is on whether the private sector should also implement a 5-day work week. As the issue of work–life balance is now receiving greater attention in the community, undoubtedly, many organizations and employees across different industries are gradually becoming aware of practices for balancing work and life. Some companies may copy the best practices and some may simply focus on the 5-day work week alone due to the complex options available. Whether this is a solution to work–life balance is unclear because it is not a “one-size-fits-all” strategy and also poses significant financial implications. This study purports to explore and gain a better understanding of the current situation in the hotel industry so as to provide HR practitioners a comprehensive solution to create a healthy and productive workforce as well as help their hotel to become an employer of choice to attract the best talent. The contribution of this study is to explore the perception of work–life balance issues among hotel employees in the Hong Kong hotel industry. By understanding their perspectives, hotel management can derive ways to improve staff productivity. As the jargon goes, “Happy Employees Produce Happy Customers.” By conducting this study, the findings should help both hotel managements and employees understand this intangible concept in human resources management. Specifically, the four objectives are to • examine hotel employees’ perception over work–life balance issues; • investigate any underlying dimensions influencing hotel employees in facing the work–life balance dilemma; • investigate which factors affect overall perception of work–life balance; and • make suggestions to hotel management on devising policies on work–life balance.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In view of the growing interest in mechanisms that can retain and attract skilled workers, this study provides valuable implications for the hotel industry on the aspects of what organizations can do to improve employees’ work–life balance. The most prevalent factor is to provide “more free time” so as to turn around their perception of “not having enough time-off-work”. This is a significant finding in the study as it provides insight for HR professionals in the “crossroad” as to whether their hotel should implement a five-day work week policy. A compressed work week transforming the 6-day work week pattern to 5-day has proved to be successful. The study also opens up the direction of devising other innovative ideas that “accommodates” employees with more free time. More importantly, this is not the only factor. The study indicated that it should go laterally with six others. These are “workplace support on family matters”, “allegiance to work”, “flexibility on work schedule”, “life orientation”, “voluntary reduction of contracted hours to cater personal needs” and finally, “upkeep the work and career”. All in all, these postulate the core concept of work–life balance in a workplace, i.e. a good management system and culture that offers more choices and control for individuals to deal with their personal and family matters. Working step-by-step is of utmost importance. It is suggested to begin with recommendations that are relatively easy to implement such as “Listen to employees and appreciate their differences and needs”. It can then followed by “Providing workplace support on family matters” and “Provide more free time and increase flexibility on work schedule” as they are the two biggest hurdles that relate to financial implications and transformation of culture. A recent example of the step-by-step approach is expressed by the “We Care” program launched by the Eaton Hotel in Hong Kong. By giving staffs 3 days off every 2 weeks before a full implementation of the 5-day work week, the hotel wants to enhance their reputation as a caring employer and to set a good example for the hospitality industry (To, 2007). Last but not least, rushing towards a work–life balance program in a scattergun way can only contain the company's turnover rate for a while. Yet, it is not the “glue” which holds employees together and retains them as members of a happy workforce in a long run. Using a simple investment concept – small investment generates small return, large investment for larger return and higher risk – adopting a single initiative only requires little investment but it will never be a comprehensive solution in this regard. Transforming the workplace proactively using a combination of well-designed initiatives in the form of an integrated approach and in consideration of all risk factors is the direction to yield an expected outcome.