IntroductionAs is primary for their retention and for
IntroductionAs people are the most important resources and competitive advantage of an organisation in this fast changing business environment, their well-being is primary for their retention and for the organisation’s success and sustainability. As per definition from O’Donnell (2014) who quoted The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), employee well-being is “creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows employees to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organization.” (CIPD, cited in O’Donnell M, 2014), implying the safety and health, physical and mental, of employees at work. Many organisations believe that employees’ well-being will bring motivation, job satisfactions and benefits like higher productivity of employees, commitment, loyalty, increased customer satisfaction and low employee turnover. Well-being and Industrial PsychologyThe well-being of employees has a holistic approach, such that many factors that can impact positively or negatively on the employees’ feelings at and about their work have to be considered. These factors can be the family, home surroundings, personal characteristics, relationships with colleagues, workplace environments, employers and management style.
It is important for employers, line managers as well as the HR practitioners to have a basic knowledge about industrial psychology for the efficient management of their people and well-being at work.Industrial psychology is a branch of psychology that involves the scientific study of behaviours, attitudes, aptitudes, learning and qualifications of people in the workplace environments and organizations, paying particular attention to the mental and physical, health of employees. It helps in evaluating companies, applying knowledge and increasing productivity.
Its main goal is to understand the behaviour of people in an organisation, improving their well-being and performances. It contributes to the organisation’s success by understanding how the organisation, through its structure, management styles, norms and culture, and expectations, can affect the workforce behaviour. From Cherry Kendra, who cited Muchinsky’s book, “Psychology Applied to Work: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology,” psychology can be applied in one of these key areas, namely: Training and development. It establishes and develops the types of skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to perform jobs and assesses the training programs of the organisations;Selection of employee. It determines if the employees or candidates are qualified and fit to perform a particular role in the organisation;Workspace design. It ensures that the procedures, equipment and organisation layouts are beneficial for the employees, enabling maximum performance and minimum injuries;Performance Management. .
It develops techniques and analysis that will ensure employees are doing their jobs effectively and efficiently;Work life. It helps employees improve their work life in the organisation by increasing satisfaction and rewards, as well as productivity. It also cares for the employees’ well-being and wellness, giving them autonomy, freedom and opportunities to be involved in organisation’s decision-making;Organizational development. It improves and sustains the organisation by encouraging creativity, innovation and motivating; employees. This will increase their commitment and loyalty of employees (Muchinsky, cited in Cherry, 2017).From this perspective, industrial psychology in workplace is primary for staff retention.
It has its importance in job analysis, job design and compensations; it increases motivation, moral, job satisfaction, efficiency and improves the relationships of the employees. It also resolves psychological problems, such as frustration and barriers; and develops qualified leadership in a better work environment.Work-Family ConflictResearches have demonstrated that work and family are considered as the central domains in a person’s life and that there exist conflicts in the work-family interface. It is caused by the interpretation that family and work roles are not compatible and produce serious repercussion when the spheres overflow, compete or interact with an individual’s key resources, for example, time, ability, family cohesion and motivation. Needless to say that work -family conflict happens when work demands, for example, long work hours, interfere with family needs, preventing the individual to satisfy the family need. Women are not the only one concerned with work-family conflict.
It also includes men. The modern employed fathers, independent of their ethnic backgrounds, are nowadays more aware about the importance of fathers’ love and involvement in family cohesion, child rearing and development.Fathers are no longer the only breadwinners and transmitter of moral and religious education to their children. They shared these roles with their spouses or partners and want to be more participative in the family domain. However, in some organisation, fathers are stigmatised as they try to balance their work and family due to the established patriarchal gender role pattern, societal and organisation expectations. It is expected that employed parents want to minimize work-family conflict and reach a balance for their well-being as well as their families.
In some organisations, fathers’ most important role as breadwinners are high rated performers than mothers. They are more reluctant to ask for privilege or take advantages of polices like flexible working or paternal leaves if organisations expect them to put their work before their family for career advancement. This can create frustrations and stress as they think they are jeopardising their career or chance for promotion if they ask for such privilege. These privileges can also have an adverse effect on fathers as they feel obliged or are pressurised to work long hours in return.In some organisations, fathers complain that they receive little or no support from their top managers and supervisors to encourage them to take leaves for caring their sick children, as it is perceived mainly as mothers’ role. Co-workers can be affected by the employee’s absence as they are not used to fathers taking parent leave and it gives surplus to their work. As a result, it adds stress on the fathers, as well as strain in the family, whenever their spouses or partners perceive a lack of involvement and unfairness in the division of household labour and family decision-making.
Another cause of work-family conflict are time norms. In some organisations, they are seen as a degree of loyalty, commitment and productivity of employees and necessary for fathers to have a key position or career path. However, they can be to their availability for their children.
Some fathers are confronted with maternal gatekeeping behaviours from their spouses, preventing them from childcare and adding barriers from taking family responsibilities. Mothers may find their maternal roles and identities under threat. This may result with fathers such that fathers become strangers to their children and feel out of the home domain.
These behaviours from mothers occur when they lack confidence in the ability of the fathers to care or the influence of society. Fathers may feel left out of the home domain.Work-family conflicts have the effects in reducing family cohesion, performance in family role and at work; increasing marital issues, stress and strain in family and work life; increasing psychological distress, depression, job dissatisfaction and turnover intentions.
Thus, work-family conflict can be harmful to an individual work life, home life, health, well-being and society, in general.In Laboratory XYZ, a young organisation of thirty employed individuals, there are less fathers than mothers. It is considered normal for mothers to take leaves for childcare, school-time hours jobs, flexible hours and flexible working. There is a strong gender role culture designating leaves for childcare as mainly for mothers. The fathers are not granted parental leaves for childcare, apart from what is provided in the Mauritian “Employment Rights Act 2008 section31” for paternity leave that says Fathers are entitled to ‘five continuous days’ leave’. In XYZ’s policies, there is provision only for medical insurance coverage for the employees and their families.
They do not cater for work family or work life balance for the wellbeing of its employees. There are no such initiatives as family day or gatherings that encourage interactions between the organisation and workers’ families. Nevertheless, according to interviews carried with some fathers (Mr JP G, Mr VB and Mr NN) at the floor level, the company encourages them to take their annual leaves, as by the “Employment Rights Act 2008 section27” to care for their children. In the case there is an emergency and fathers need a time-off, for example, caring for their sick child, their requests are evaluated and time off is granted by supervisors, after considering the load of work, priorities and rearranging work to be carried among co-workers.
Their co-workers accept this flexible working, as long as they perceive that there is no abuse. From interview carried to fathers (Mr MV, Mr AG and Mr GL) from middle management who report to the director, the latter is lenient and allows flexible working and occasional telecommuting to managers. Nevertheless, these fathers often complain that they are working longer hours at home and often cannot concentrate on their work with their children around. Thus they avoid working at home. In general employees of XYZ, at all levels, are encouraged by the management to take their local leaves to resolve family or personal issues.
To cater for the well-being of fathers regarding work-family conflict, upon formulating their policies about the well-being of the employees, the Human Resource Manager should consider the work-family balance aspects and build a family-supportive organisational culture. Family-friendly programmes should be established, giving benefits to the fathers, allowing them to meet family demands; promoting and facilitating their right to acquire suitable flexible working arrangements, like telecommuting, part-time jobs, flexitime and job sharing; restructuring their work; getting more involved in family by organising family fun day for employees. Consequently, this will help reducing work-family conflict and increase the mothers’ confidence in the fathers’ ability for child rearing. Awareness campaigns, at all levels, should promote and inform fathers about the family-friendly advantages, such as more time and space for their family, available and a gender equality workplace. The number of working hours of fathers have to be regulated.
The organisation culture for stereotypes ideal workers and the stigmatisation of fathers who choose flexible working have to be banished. Human Resources Practitioners have to be trained in gender egalitarianism.Government, with the help of trade unions, have to introduce more elaborated national policies that will support working parents by giving them grants, such as paid leaves for both parents, subsidies on day care, as well as time off to look after sick children. Culture that will promote gender equality in the family in child rearing and labour market should be encouraged by Government, through education of the new generations of parents or future parents, as today most families are dual-earnerConclusionIn my opinion, the mental and physical health concerns of each employee are priorities in every organisation. As work-family conflict is one of the factors that affects employed parents. Organisations and Government should provide supports to gender egalitarianism in labour market as well as family. It can be seen as tedious work for Government to change the traditional norms that prevails in our culture today, but still it can be done through education at school level.
New ways of working have to be encouraged to accommodate to the fast-evolving world as well as the needs of employed parents. Flexible working, home working and job sharing can be solutions for working fathers in flat organisations, but they must not feel that they are guilty and have to work longer hours to compensate. Nonetheless, fathers have to integrate their work, their family and their spouses’ or partners’ career to find a balance for their serenity, well-being and productivity.
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