Badly done work is the tip of the iceberg: Family lies beneath

So much ado about the sinking of the RMS Titanic ship after a collision with an iceberg. It was apparently just a small piece of ice, that was the only obstacle seen. If only they had known what laid beneath it, how many lives could have been saved! The saying that history repeats itself is no truer than it is today. Not in a distant faraway place from you, but daily, in your workplace. Who would attribute any employee lack of productivity to the family? Badly done work is the tip of the iceberg: Family lies beneath. Talking of root cause analysis and uprooting from the roots as a method of effectively eradicating a weed, it is the high time we got to the roots of employee lack of engagement and productivity.

You have observed poor communication, interpersonal conflict, low motivation, taking too many breaks, being disorganized, tardiness, negativity, distractions, and late delivery on tasks of an employee. You have communicated the appraisal results to the staff and you have done your duty of placing him/her on the employee performance improvement plan. Yet there has not been any marked improvement. It is high time we looked at what is happening in the family domain. It does not strike you as your business but if the employee performance means anything to your organization, then it is time to care.

Persons, these human resources are the most important organizational resources, which play key roles in achieving corporate goals. Companies that are aware of this fact treat their employees as assets and they manage these assets as part of their corporate strategy to guarantee their competitiveness.

In general terms, performance refers to a person’s success in the accomplishment of a task. Employee performance is the output achieved by a person in carrying out assigned tasks to achieve a target at work. This is a measurable outcome, contributing to the achievement of organizational goal. These tasks are carried out by persons composed of several domains of which work, and family constitute a major part. There parts are interconnected and have an impact on one another. It also implies that they could be in conflict. When it is the work conflicting with family it is referred to as work-family conflict.

Work-family conflict occurs when commitments and experiences at work interfere with family life and family demands. Extensive, irregular, or inflexible work hours, unreasonable deadlines, work overload and other forms of job-related stress, interpersonal conflict at work, extensive travel, long daily commuting times, career transitions, or an unsupportive supervisor or organization are work demands you and I are very familiar with. These work-family conflict no doubt negatively impacts employees’ productivity. It could also result in job burnout, which reduces job performance and decreases the job satisfaction of employees. By the same token, employee turnover, psychological distress, and overall life satisfaction are negatively affected.

Some employees find it difficult to divide their time between work time and family time. Workplace tensions often interfere with family harmony, creating tension therein. Similarly, tensions in the family often affects job performance. These employees could currently be overwhelmed by family demands such as the quantity of time required for spouse and children bonding, commitment to, and responsibilities related to obligations, such as housekeeping, parenting and care giving for family members. Not to mention issues such as quarrels with the spouse, challenges with children and even extended family members such as parents. This could be the draining pipe of the energies of that your apparent underperforming employee. As the popular saying goes, “behind every successful man there is a woman”. It is equally apt to infer “a stable family” behind every productive employee.

The role of a good supervisor is to be armed with knowledge of the possibility of work- family conflict and to offer the necessary support. At the organizational level, corporate family responsible policies such as paid leave, family support systems, paternity leave, telecommuting, casual leave, reduced work for reduced pay options, are measures which companies can have in place. This goes a long way in augmenting the individual efforts in balancing or integrating work and family and reducing these conflicts.

Employee performance is a key factor in organizational success. The better the performance of the employee, the greater the achievement of organizational goals. Employee performance will be maximal if the employee is able to manage, with the help of the supervisor and his company, his/her work-family conflict. This conviction that a “happy” employee is a more productive employee, organizations should become increasingly interested in the family life of employees and engage actively in resolving work-family conflicts. Search no further, those badly done work, are the tip of the iceberg: family lies beneath.

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