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Work-Life Balance: What Do Employees Complain About At The Highest-Rated Companies?
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Work-Life Balance: What Do Employees Complain About At The Highest-Rated Companies? - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: What Do Employees Complain About At The Highest-Rated Companies?

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: What Do Employees Complain About At The Highest-Rated Companies?

Many of us have come to think of work-life balance as a kind of Holy Grail of regular employment. Those of us who are super-motivated to advance in our careers by the sweat of our labor wish we wouldn't have to sacrifice time with our families, time in pursuit of other interests, a healthy lifestyle, or some kind of separation between our livings and our lives in order to do so. Yet for most of us, there is always this idea that there are always trade-offs, that maybe having it all is within our grasp, but that a more reasonable expectation is to accept some amount of sacrifice in one realm to gain more flexibility in the other. Do people whose jobs offer that flexibility have anything to complain about, or is work-life balance all that we envision it to be, even with our reasonable acceptance of some trade-off?

Glassdoor.com is a kind of Yelp for employees. Not only does it offer worldwide job-listings for those seeking new opportunities, but it gives employees (past and present) an opportunity to review the places of their employment, offering job-seekers a glimpse at what some companies are like from the inside. A combination of anonymous reviews and a purportedly stringent review-acceptance policy by the website offers a candid glimpse into the pros and cons of working at a very large number of companies, big and small. A large number of reliable reviews gives Glassdoor the ability to rank companies annually on a range of employee-rated criteria, including corporate culture and work-life balance.

We examined between thirty and fifty highly-rated reviews (that is, reviews other website users considered helpful) from Glassdoor's four best companies for work-life balance to get a sense of what kind of complaints employees at such touted companies might have, even while praising their companies' work-life balance policies. Of course there are always outliers, and any organization is going to have employees on both extremes of happiness and dissatisfaction, so we looked for patterns or repeating themes, and found that while generally happy with the benefits of work-life-friendly, employees who celebrate them still have a few things to complain about in some fairly reliable categories.

Complaint number one: Pay.
Almost unanimously, the biggest complaint among the four most highly-rated companies on Glassdoor for work-life balance was about compensation. It seems that increased flexibility, family-friendly workplaces, onsite childcare, company-sponsored socials, gym memberships or gym facilities, and company-paid healthcare is considered part of many companies' compensation packages, which means salaries tend to trail competitors. A few employees felt the benefits were misleading because, while free childcare for up to three children sounds like excellent compensation, it's not a worthwhile trade-off for employees without families. Others said that for entry-level positions the compensation was competitive, but since employees are reluctant to leave, pay increases can be in lower increments over time, and it isn't long before employees trail similarly employed people at other companies.

Complaint number two: Advancement.
When you work in a place that values its employees enough to offer healthy, delicious, inexpensive meals, or to encourage employees to wear whatever they want to the office, you don't have a lot of people looking to get out of hard-earned upper-level positions, and advancement becomes something of a challenge. Employees complain that while they love their co-workers and their office environments, seeing similarly employed people at other companies move rapidly up the ladder in higher-turnover places can be frustrating.

Complaint number three: Slowness.
Among employees at Glassdoor's four highest-rated companies for work-life balance, a common complaint is that people tend to get comfortable in an environment where they are so valued by their employer. Upper-level decision-makers get used to doing things at a relaxed pace, which means that new ideas can be excruciatingly difficult to introduce and gain approval for. Technology tends to stagnate, and a commodity seems to be placed on keeping things as they are, since those are things that earned the company's success in the first place.

Complaint number four: Growing Pains.
In these companies whose employees love their work-life balance, a common complaint is related to growth. Practices in communication, management, evaluation, and even procurement cannot work the same way as they used to when a company experiences rapid growth, but people who make those decisions seem reluctant to respond to a company's changing needs, according to many reviewers, while at one company that is in the beginning stages of this kind of growth, employees worry their employers might not protect the core values that drive the success. These latter employees aren't in the complaint stage yet, but they seem to sense a dangerous zone now, where their company could slide into the territory of these older companies.

It should be noted that the reviews evaluated here gave overall ratings of their employers between one and five stars, so for some of them the complaints weren't big enough to lower their overall love of their companies, while for others they are practically deal-breakers. Yet taken as a whole, they can be valuable to those of us aspiring to finding that balance. What trade-offs are we willing to make, and are those trade-offs necessary, or can they be worked out somehow so that neither employee nor employer has anything to complain about? As we consider changes to our personal lives or professional situations in search of better balance, perhaps we should do our best to understand the possible costs.

 

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Work-Life Balance: What Do Employees Complain About At The Highest-Rated Companies? - Executive Leadership Articles

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