HR Insights, HR Management

What Happens When Work-Life Balance Comes Full Circle?

Photo illustration by Dreamstime

Did you see what RIM did last week? What’s RIM, you ask?

They are the makers of the Blackberry —  you know, that phone we use to use before the iPhone came out. Yeah, they’re still in business, barely, and trying to survive and save their company and thousands of jobs.

Here’s some background, from the Ottawa Citizen:

Research In Motion Ltd. is limiting summer vacations and ordering six-day work weeks for many of its Ottawa staff as it scrambles to push out its much-promised BlackBerry 10 operating system….

The successful launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform, and the delivery of high quality, full-featured BlackBerry 10 smartphones, remains the company’s No. 1 priority; and we’re incredibly proud of the commitment shown by all RIM employees as we work toward this goal,” a RIM spokeswoman said in a statement.

The company is racing to complete quality control and bug testing on the new devices, which were originally expected to be released in the fall. On a conference call to investors Thursday, chief executive Thorsten Heins announced a delay to the release of the devices until early 2013 because making sure the phones work flawlessly is taking far longer than the company had hoped.”

Who in your organization would step up?

Yep, we are on the precipice of our company either surviving or going under forever, and you’re going to have to work a little extra each week and miss out on your vacation at the cottage this summer! That’s “real” work-life balance in a nutshell.

You want to measure your engagement of employees on an individual basis? Do this and see who bitches about it, and see who steps up and asks for more!

I’ve seen both happen. Unfortunately, when your organization is at a critical point – either for survival, growth, a major project, etc., and you need a little extra – work-life balance needs a little shift temporarily, and, you’re going to have employees who don’t care. This is the Universe’s way of showing you who should be let go immediately – don’t wait!

Work-life balance goes two ways

Work-Life balance doesn’t mean that the balance only works in the employee’s favor. It has to work both ways to be “balance!”

There are times when our employees will need extra time for their personal life – you need to understand that – but employees also need to understand there are times when the organization will need extra from them as well (FYI to employees: “Extra” is not defined as showing up on time and doing the job you’re getting paid to do).

I don’t have a Blackberry (that’s a lie; I do, but it’s in a drawer someplace collecting dust) – but I hope they make it, I hope they are widely successful – for the sake of the thousands of families who are getting their support from RIM, and for all those employees who are giving it their all to help make their company successful.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community – so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.