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Four Ways to Foster Work-Life Integration for Young Professionals

Work-Life Integration and Young ProfessionalsYoung professionals have let go of the unattainable goal of work-life balance. They understand that if you consider work and sleep—it’s just mathematically impossible. So they look for, and stay in, work situations where they can have time for what they care about, or what I like to call work-life integration – having each of the spheres of life, i.e., career, family, friendships, recreation, health, and so forth, honored. Most young professionals care as much about lifestyle as their paycheck. To keep your young professionals happy, productive and employed by you—try out these fun and effective ways to encourage work-life integration.

1. Value privacy and “off” time. Help your new employees establish healthy boundaries between work and other areas of their life. For example, can you mutually agree that emails will not be sent over the weekend? Or, if they are, that they are to be read and not responded to. Communication is key here. Mutually agree how you will respect your new hire’s personal time.

2. Combat workplace stress. Stress plus hard work does not create a productive employee. Stress, unfortunately, costs American companies approximately $300 billion each year in absenteeism, presenteeism (coming to work despite illness), lackluster performance, poor company morale and turnover. Employees need opportunities for happiness, leisure, learning, growth and a sense of accomplishment. As a manager of new hires, it is important that you recognize when your employees are stressed out and work with them to create a calmer environment.

3. Co-Create a Culture of Global Responsibility. According to a recent survey conducted by CSRwire.com, 79 percent of Gen Y employees want to work for a company that cares about how it affects and contributes to society. Use this as a way to let new hires do what they care about—while at work. Let your young professionals spearhead a charitable project or community service program. Show them that their values are honored within their workplace’s four walls.

4. Communicate with employees about what is important to them and how you can incorporate it into the workplace. Most young professionals want work and life to be interconnected. They hunger to work for a company that feels like a natural extension of their own personal brand. Partner with your employees to make them feel happy at work. Do they value exercise? Offer to let them sit on a balance ball at work or try to find a discount for employees at a local yoga studio.

Employees are much more likely to stay at companies where they are happy and able to be themselves—all of their selves. You can help with this by respecting their need for work-life integration. Honor the needs of employees and their families by creating opportunities, programs and services that help bridge the gap between career and personal life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexia Vernon is an author, speaker, International Coach Federation (ICF) certified coach, trainer, and media personality who specializes in helping organizations recruit, retain, educate, and grow their young professional workforce. In her book 90 Days 90 Ways: Onboard Young Professionals to Peak Performance, Alexia demonstrates how to achieve the goal of getting new employees oriented, integrated and trained within 90 days of their employment. As a member of Gen Y and with her unique approach to talent development, Alexia has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including CNN, NBC, Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, FOX Business News, Forbes.com, ABCNews.com, TheGlassDoor.com, and Mint.com.  To learn more visit www.AlexiaVernon.com and connect with Alexia on Twitter @AlexiaVernon.

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