1.1 Background to the study
These days business is faced with an ever stressful work environment. Many employees are faced with the challenge of hanging a balance between work and their own family life. Sustaining a healthy work-life balance is an issue that is increasingly recognized as of strategic importance and of significance to employees. Employee performance is a fundamental determinant in the realization of organizational goals. Thus, agencies have devised extraordinary approaches of motivating their employees, so as for them to offer their best to the organization.
WLB includes adjustment of working patterns to allow employees combine work with their different family demands. The demerits associated with WLB can have a negative effect on both the employee and the employer. For employers the results of bad WLB are negative performance, ill leaves, higher staff turnover, and accelerated absenteeism. While on the employee the outcomes include mental health, bodily fitness, and terrible person performance in an organization.
In a highly competitive labour market an employer needs to hold its treasured employees. It’s a strong motivating factor for increased organizational awareness and action in regards to implementing and control of work-life balance strategies. WLB is an area of interest in human resource management and it is receiving lots attention from researchers, trade unions and media.
Work-life balance from the employees’ perspective is the protection of equilibrium between duties at work and at home. Employers view the benefits or the working conditions that they offer to help employees balance their family and the work domains as work life benefits (Okeke, 2017). First of all the idea of work life conflic focused on the effect of own family and personal demands on work. It now extends to the effect work has on individual strain, relationships and family well-being (Russell & Bowman, 2000).
Work-to-family conflict occurs when experiences at work interfere with family life, rigid work hours, work overload, interpersonal conflict at work and unsupportive supervisor within the organization. Family-to-work conflict occurs when experiences within the family interfere with work, life’s primary responsibility for children, elder care obligations, interpersonal conflict within the family unit and unsupportive own family members.
Running efficiently and keeping a well-balanced social life, has to strike a balance between work and emotional wellbeing. This translates to improved organizational, character emotional balance and proper societal functioning (Grady, 2014). Individuals experience more divergence linking work and personal life as they continue to pursue the quality of life that they need (Kim, H. K. 2014). Consequently, successfully balancing work and family life is one of the most important challenges facing modern-day employees (Uusiautti, S., ;Määttä, K. 2018).
Traditionally, work-life balance issues were considered personal issues (Irungu, 2017) and employers have just responded to their employees’ needs by means of presenting extra benefits such as on-site childcare service and paid maternity leave in the work place. Despite the fact that, with environmental shifts and value adjustments of employees, choice for work-life balance has accelerated and employers have started to offer more active help of their employees’ work-life balance (Kim, 2014).
Fortune magazine in its listing of the 100 high performing organizaions to work for identifies agencies that take the time to aid employees in dealing with the obligations of work and family (Firfiray; Mayo 2017). As a result, organizational efforts for ensuring employees’ work-existence balance are required and prized greater than ever.
The multi-tasking between domestic responsibilities and work have assumed increased relevance for employees in the service sector in modern years. That is due to work place and demographic changes, which includes; technological advancement, transformation in family unit structures, increased reluctance for ‘long working hours’, greater number of women in the work force and culture acceptance (Sharma, & et al 2016). End result employees may have stress in prioritizing between their private lives and work roles. poor organizational culture; like commutation of leave of employees, inconvenient period of leave for employees and the inability of employers to stick to leave policy of their employment agreement all these may also result in difficult-pressed workloads which bring about different issues to the employee. Those difficulty involve the psychologically and the emotional well-being of employee and these can bring about reduction in employee overall performance in areas along with, poor service delivery and health associated issues
According to (Ngari, & Mukururi, 2014), many service sector organizations and groups in Kenya have did not recognize the significance of working environment for employee job satisfaction and as a consequence face a whole lot of difficulties during their work. To meet the standards of organization, employees want a working environment that permits them to work freely without problems which restrain them from performing up to the level of their complete capability. It’s therefore essential for the service industry to have a good working environment improving the work, technical, human, and organizational factors vital to enhancing the organization’s competitive role by means of attracting certified human asset.
Sullivan, & Skelcher, (2017), states that the service industry covers a wide area with a myriad of environmental and physical elements that employees work in. This spatial detail affords a unique trouble in occupation health and safety faced by employees together with lengthy travel hours to and from; long operating hours at work, lengthy away time from family, workload, strain, over time, fatigue and boredom are a few elements to reduce employee performance (Caesar, & Fei, 2018). Then again provision of appropriate working environment, refreshment, health & safety facility, fun at workplace and clear work-life balance guidelines and policies which accommodate out of workplace preoccupations will go a long way in growing the degree of employee performance (Hartnell, 2010).
This project therefore intends to evaluate the extent to which work life balance impacts employee overall performance and additionally introduce suitable employment practices to help employees obtain a higher work life balance which can offer tangible benefits to the organization as well as the persons involved. This project additionally examines the way to promote top WLB practices in the service and telecommunication sector of Kenya and highlights a few merits for the agencies.
1.1.1 Work life balance in the insurance industry
Introduction of the Insurance Act, CAP 487 of the Laws of Kenya, supervision and regulation of insurance business has substantially stepped forward the industry overall performance. The insurance industry has over the last decade continued to check in double digit increase in gross written premium profits with insurance penetration at around 3% that’s similar to nations within the developing countries. These trends have bestowed on the industry some demanding situations and opportunities key of that are the specified human resource capacities and compliment to drive the growth agenda as set out within the imaginative and Vision 2030 (IRA Report, 2015).
Insurance companies are basically human extensive, and human assets act as an absolute differentiator. Quality manpower and its retention could act as a Litmus test. Turnover of the workforce has been excessive due to low exit and entry barriers within the industry (IRA record, 2016). Taylor et. al. (2017) in a study conducted on the connection among worker commitment and their performance, determined that organizational culture characterized with the aid of excessive adaptability and a HRM system emphasizing excessive overall performance work practices had, a direct and profound effect on employee commitment. Martin and Beaumont (2014) study on employee commitment points out that there may be need for employees to conduct themselves consistent with the requirements of the company’s preferred brand. The success of this hinges at the potential of businesses to win employee loyalty to the brand and growing dedication to the employer.
The upward thrust of technological development ,the move by insurance firms to acquire and merge has led to changes in the social surroundings forcing new organizational restructuring, task re-engineering and ultimately downsizing of employees who had come of age as a result retiring and rendering employees redundant. These changes have expanded pressure on employees, in terms of adjusting to the change itself and managing its ensuing consequences. Increased pressure from workloads and a need to develop new skills is of key challenge in the insurance sector in Kenya. Hence the objective of finding the possible answers to enhancing work lifestyles balance is paramount on this project.
1.1.2 work-life balance and employee performance in the Mobile Telecommunication industry in Kenya
Kenya’s mobile Telecommunication sector has grown tremendously over the years. The mobile telecommunication sector contributes over KES 300 billion and as much as a in addition KES 100 billion from intangible benefits to clients. It employs roughly 25,000 people in Kenya on permanent and contract terms. Mobile Network operators have undertaken civil works together with contributing to the power roll out (Williams et al., 2016). The mobile Telecommunication sector is very dynamic; there’s cut throat competition in the sector. Employees are faced with challenges concerning their work environment especially their operating hours due to shifts and lack of mobility in the place of work in terms of promotions. With the intention to reach their organizational top performance, the cell agencies need to be capable of create a work environment where employees are encouraged to work.
UNCORP (2012) report indicates that Safaricom PLC has initiated numerous mechanisms to cushion mothers from personal and job related stress. a number of this includes day care facilities, Flexi time for lactating mothers, fitness facilities for both men and women, even prayer rooms for spiritual nourishment. The strategies are deemed to boost work life balance to diffuse employees pressure, beautify performance, and productivity; consequently the want to explore greater work life balance practices at Safaricom in comparison to others in the service industry working under similar circumstances.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Despite the effort to come up with numerous work life Initiatives (WLBI) in the service industry to enhance employees’ overall performance, the performance of most employees has remained dismal. Furthermore, the mechanism and extent to which the flexible work arrangements, HR financial incentives, HR work family support services, work-life balance, employee behavior and attitudes affect employees’ overall performance continues to be doubtful and unclear (Wang and Walumbwa, 2011; Snape and Redman, 2010; Wright and McMahan, 2011; Groen, B. A., van Triest, S. P., Coers, M., & W tenweerde, N. 2018; Wang, E. S., & Lin, C. L. 2018).
Empirical research carried out in developed countries by Wright and MacMahan, (2010); Kuvaas and Dysvik, (2010); Boxall,(2013); Allen, (2013) in addition to studies performed in Kenya by Shitsama, (2011) and Bosibori,(2012) reveal that HR practices have a high effects and statistically relationship with performance. but, those research have centered on HRM functions of employee development and attraction practices such as training and development, performance appraisal, profession career management, recruitment and selection (Teseema and Soeters, 2006; Mutua, Karanja and Namusonge, 2009).There is a scanty empirical study exploring the telecommunication and insurance industry in terms of work life balance on employee performance. This research will try to identify whether there is a relationship between work life balance and employee performances in insurance and telecommunication industry in Kenya so as to add to the existing literature more ingredients that will spice up human resource practices as far as employees are concerned.
1.3 Objectives of the study
1.3.1 General objective
The general objective of the study will be to evaluate the effect of work life balance on employee performance in the service industry.
1.3.2 Specific objectives
The specific objectives will be to;
i. To establish the effect of work family priorities on employee performance in the service industry
ii. To examine the influence of Flexible Working Options on Employee Performance the service industry
iii. To determine the effects of Employee Assistance Programs on Employee Performance in the service industry
1.4 Research questions
a) What is the influence of work family priorities on employee performance in the service industry?
b) Which Flexible Working Options are available to the Service industry employee?
c) What are the effects of Employee Assistance Programs on Employee Performance in the service industry?
1.5 Significance of the study
The study will benefit various groups in Kenya and also in other developing countries. First it brings light to HR managers and future managers on the importance of integrating work life initiatives in the strategic objectives of the organization.
The research is of importance to organizational policy makers by providing relevant information about employees’ perception on the availability of work life initiatives to employees and its effect on organizational behavior. Specifically, the government policy makers can use the research findings when drafting statutory polices by including those initiatives not included in the employment Act of Kenya such as flexible work arrangements, onsite and offsite baby care centers as requirements in organizations with a certain number of female employees.
The study is also of use to other human resource management students and scholars who might want to carry out their research in the area of work life initiatives and employees’ performance.
1.6 Assumptions of the study
The study assumes that first, involvement in one role necessarily impedes attention of family and social life and that such interference between role commitments leads to work-life conflict if not balanced. Further the study assumes that Organizations can implement various work-life balance initiatives that may assist employees to better balance their work, family and social life responsibilities, gain improvements in well-being and provide organizational benefits.
1.7 Limitations of the study
The influence of work life balance on employee performance is not restricted to the service industry in Kenya only as there are many industrial sectors whose settings may not be related to the ones in the service industry. The area of study in Kenya is under researched and it may be difficult to compare the different sectors of the population and come up with a cross cutting generalization because different factors could affect one sector and not another. This issue will be mitigated by ensuring that similar questions are asked cutting across the sectoral lines to ensure that uniformity of the answers could be achieved for comparison.
Access to the respondents may also pose a challenge due to the stringent policies by most of the organizations not to allow any form of research within their premises. This challenge will be mitigated by using a research permit from the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation and an introduction letter given by the University which will easily enable access to the organizations under study.
Some respondents are likely to be reluctant to give confidential information which would be vital for the study. The Researcher will assure the employees that the information given would be treated with confidentiality and would not use the information for other purposes other than for the research.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Employee performance- The favorable expected employee outcomes in terms of productivity and efficiency in the organizations
Flexible work arrangements- Working arrangements which allow the employee to differ the amount, timing and location of his/her work.
Human resource practices- Human resource management control activities.
Organizational performance- Refers to achievement of Human resource management short and long term goals and objectives in terms of employee performance, retention of employees, provision of quality services and the ability to attract better applicants.
Productivity- Refers to the perceived work effort expended by an employee.
Service efficiency- Employee service behaviors such as carrying out the right task at the right time with the right speed of delivery.
Work life balance -Managing work and family responsibilities without the influence either into work and family responsibilities.
Work life conflict- The interference between work and non-work responsibilities
Work life initiatives- Practices and programmes beyond and above the statutory requirements offered by the employer for the use and benefit of the employ