Work-life ‘integration’ considered critical for employee retention

WORKER RETENTION will hinge largely on moving beyond work-life balance to work-life integration, in which employer support for their workers’ personal circumstances like parenthood is ingrained in the company’s culture, participants in the BusinessWorld Virtual Economic Forum were told on Thursday.

Arlene De Castro, human resources platform Sprout Solutions chief people and customer officer, said during the second day of the forum that “We believe in work-life integration because you do not stop becoming a mother or a father the moment you step into the office. The main purpose of an employee for working is really to work to live, not live to work,” Ms. De Castro said.

“Organizations, now more than ever, need to be more mindful of… how work and life must blend, and how they are supporting their employees as individual persons and not just as their workers. Building a strong culture that improves the workers’ lives is really one of the ways to attract and retain the best people,” she added.  

Ms. De Castro backed hybrid work arrangements as a retention tool.  

“There are advantages and disadvantages… But from the perspective of an employee, work-life integration is present in a hybrid work setup. There is also that feeling of safety. It is also good for the environment because carbon footprint and transportation costs (are reduced),” Ms. De Castro said.

According to Ms. De Castro, “The Great Resignation” will continue if companies do not provide flexible work arrangements and improve engagement with employees.

“The Great Resignation is… a huge wave of people deciding to leave their current jobs. This is tied to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic because it (made workers realize) uncertainties in their future. It forced people to rethink their careers and life in general,” Ms. De Castro said.

“The Great Resignation is still happening and may not end anytime soon… if companies fail to provide two things for their employees — flexible work arrangement and enhanced employee engagement,” she added.

Ms. De Castro said improving engagement entails reforming company culture, implementing employee engagement programs, and making compensation packages more competitive.

In a separate session during the forum, Philippine Development Foundation Chairman Francisco Sandejas said the new government needs to appoint digital-savvy officials who can drive forward the transformation agenda.

For us that are participants in the digital economy, when we come up with services, there is an initial stage that we really spend a lot of time on. We spend a lot of time with customers and look at their journey and look at the processes that they have to engage in order to accomplish their goals, and what are steps those digital technologies can facilitate and make easier,” Mr. Sandejas said.

Telemedicine firm Medgate Philippines Country Manager Ronald T. Estrella noted that much needs to be done to improve the state of telemedicine.

“Telemedicine is not even a module in the curriculum for medical school. There was a time when medical associations were not even certain about what to do with telemedicine,” Mr. Estrella said.  

“This doesn’t fall on the private sector solely, nor on the public sector. It’s going to be a public-private partnership. Definitely, a lot needs to be done. But we are getting there,” he added.

Voyager Innovations, Inc. President Shailesh Baidwan, said the company is focused on improve cybersecurity for the benefit of consumers using its digital services.

“The issue is making sure that consumers are constantly educated and it falls back on us to constantly think through on what could be any weakness that may be faced by consumers when they receive something like an SMS or e-mail that may lead to a link,” Mr. Baidwan said.

“We are strengthening partnerships with the Philippine National Police on this… We feel good about where we are in terms of the strength of our platform and security systems,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave