Do Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Employee Turnover?

4329856959_d420346295_zHow can organization’s prevent employee turnover? The recent Public Personnel Management article “Does Satisfaction with Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies” from author James Gerard Caillier of University of Alabama suggests that the key to employee retention for an organization could be family-friendly programs. Programs like telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, employee assistance programs, and other similar programs not only attract new talent, but help companies retain long-standing employees. The abstract for the paper:

This article sought to understand the association between employee satisfaction with several family-friendly programs and turnover in U.S. federal agencies. It also built on previous cross-sectional studies that examined the relationship between these benefits and both attitudes and outcomes. More specifically, this article used social exchange theory to develop hypotheses regarding the effect of telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, elder care, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs on turnover. Furthermore, 4 years of panel data were Current Issue Coverobtained from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and FedScope to test the hypotheses. Consistent with social exchange theory, results from the balanced panel model indicate that satisfaction with family-friendly programs in general had a significant, negative effect on turnover. The results also indicate that telework, alternative work schedules, child care programs, and health and wellness programs reduced turnover. Telework, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs were significant at the .10 level. Elder care programs, on the other hand, were not found to have an impact on turnover. The implications the results have for theory and practice are discussed in the article.

You can read “Does Satisfaction with Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies” from Public Personnel Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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* Family image attributed to bniice (CC)

Do Managers Act Territorially of Their Employees?

8308869963_88da799f39_zWorking with the same employees over an extended period of time can lead managers to establish strong relationships with their employees, but do managers go so far as to act territorial of their employees? A recent article published in Journal of Managemententitled When Territoriality Meets Agency: An Examination of Employee Guarding as a Territorial Strategy,” from authors Timothy M. Gardner, Timothy P. Munyon, Peter W. Hom, and Rodger W. Griffeth finds that managers do engage in territorial behavior, using anticipatory defenses in particular to prevent employee defection. The abstract for the paper:

Do managers behave territorially toward their employees? Despite accumulating evidence demonstrating the prevalence of territoriality over nonagentic organizational resources, key questions remain regarding the extent to which Current Issue Coverpsychological ownership and territorial behavior occur within supervisor-subordinate relationships. To explore this question, we drew on territoriality and mate-guarding theory to ascertain how and why managers might utilize one form of territoriality, anticipatory defenses, toward their employees. In a four-study investigation, we find that managers consistently engage in two forms of anticipatory defense tactics, persuasion and nurturing, that are intended to defend ownership claims over their employees and limit employee defection. Our results demonstrate a positive relationship between psychological ownership of subordinates and employee guarding directed toward those subordinates. We also find that managers engage in employee guarding more when they anticipate an employee is likely to defect, and they adapt guarding tactics in response to the subordinate’s general mental ability. Collectively, our results identify the motivations and conditions under which supervisors act territorially toward agentic subordinates, contributing to theory in territoriality and downward social influence.

You can read “When Territoriality Meets Agency: An Examination of Employee Guarding as a Territorial Strategy” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

Don’t Let Your Best Employees Get Away

Editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Professor Wendy Marcinkus Murphy of Babson College. She and co-authors James P. Burton of Northern Illinois University, Stephanie C. Henagan of Louisiana State University, and Jon P. Briscoe of Northern Illinois University published “Employee Reactions to Job Insecurity in a Declining Economy: A Longitudinal Study of the Mediating Role of Job Embeddedness,” forthcoming in Group & Organization Management and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

pullquoteAs the Great Recession unfolded we were hearing from our students and colleagues that regardless of how long they had been in their workplace or how stable their organization, everyone was feeling some degree of job insecurity. Job insecurity is a classic work stressor that can make employees feel threatened by their organization and provoke strong adverse reactions. A common reaction to job insecurity is to consider leaving and to search for other jobs. The reason employers should care — even in a down economy — is that it is usually the best employees who are likely to find alternative jobs in any context. We wondered what might mitigate this feeling.

GOM_72ppiRGB_150pixwAs researchers we had expertise in careers and job embeddedness, but had never considered linking these to job insecurity. Job embeddedness is an important influence on retention. It reflects the web of connections in a job and/or community that people become enmeshed in making it hard to leave their organization. Job embeddedness includes 3 components: fit– how well a job matches other aspects of your life, links– the number of connections you have with people in your company and community, and sacrifice– the tangible benefits you would give up if you left your job or community. The recession provided a strong context to test if job embeddedness could prevent the job insecurity from leading to negative withdrawal outcomes, including intentions to leave and job search behavior.

Our findings show that indeed job embeddedness is an important variable between job insecurity and withdrawal outcomes. Feelings of insecurity are stressful, thus it is imperative that leaders communicate with employees about any major changes within the organization or the environment to decrease perceptions of threat. Given that job embeddedness plays an important role in mitigating withdrawal outcomes, we advise taking cost-effective steps to engage in long-term career development with your best employees and to establish strong mentoring or coaching programs. These steps should improve employees’ sense of fit with the organization and increase their links to colleagues. In addition, we recommend that organizations encourage employees to be active in their local neighborhoods and develop partnerships with volunteer organizations to increase their embeddedness in the community.

Read “Employee Reactions to Job Insecurity in a Declining Economy: A Longitudinal Study of the Mediating Role of Job Embeddedness” online in Group & Organization Management.

Wendy Marcinkus Murphy is an Assistant Professor of Management at Babson College.  She earned her Ph.D. at Boston College.  Her current research interests include mentoring and developmental networks, gender, and the work-life interface.

James P. Burton is an Associate Professor of Management at Northern Illinois University.  He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Washington.  His current research interests include abusive supervision, employee retention, and workplace aggression.

Stephanie C. Henagan is a Visiting Scholar in the Management Department at Louisiana State University, where she also earned her Ph.D.  Her current research interests include interpersonal dynamics in the workplace and the effects of social comparison processes on achievement.

Jon P. Briscoe is Professor of Management at Northern Illinois University.  He received his DBA at Boston University and a Masters in Organizational Behavior at Brigham Young University.  His research interests center around careers, leadership development, and values.  He is a past chair of the Careers Division of the Academy of Management and Director of the Cross Cultural Collaboration on Contemporary Careers (the 5C Group).

SAGE Journals Recently In the News

In recent weeks, SAGE journals have cropped up in news outlets including The New York Times and the Toronto Star, offering fresh insights on management topics ranging from employee burnout and worker mobility to sports economics.

In today’s post, we bring you those media highlights and take a closer look at the studies that inspired them. We hope you find this selection interesting and useful.

Matthew Bidwell of the University of Pennsylvania published “Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility” in the September 2011 issue of Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ). The article was discussed in The New York Times’ Job Market section’s “The Pros and Cons of Hiring Outsiders” piece, which commented on its assertion that external hires out-earn and under-perform internal workers who are promoted:

The findings may well stir indignation among internal employees passed over for jobs in favor of outsiders. The implications are worth considering as the economy improves, loosening hiring budgets and letting more employees seek greener pastures. They come amid a long-term trend of job mobility, with the idea of working for one employer for life seeming downright antiquated.

Read more at, and access the full ASQ article here.

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John J. Binder of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Murray Findlay of Soccer Success Inc. published “The Effects of the Bosman Ruling on National and Club Teams in Europe” in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Sports Economics (JSE). New York Times blogger Jack Bell called the article “food for thought” in that it sheds new light on the 1995 Bosman ruling, which gave free agency status to out-of-contract soccer players:

While the authors discuss — and generally debunk — Bosman myths having to do with the dominance of a few clubs in their domestic leagues and the effects on national teams, they assert that the ruling’s biggest effect has been on the Champions League — and that the effect has been nothing but positive.

Wrote Bell: “Take a look at the complete report. It is an eye-opener. Academics and soccer … perfect together!”

Read more at Goal: The New York Times Soccer Blog, and access the full JSE article here.

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Émilie Lapointe of the University of Montreal, Christian Vandenberghe of HEC Montreal, and Alexandra Panaccio of Concordia University published “Organizational commitment, organization-based self-esteem, emotional exhaustion and turnover: A conservation of resources perspective” in the December 2011 issue of Human Relations. The article, widely released this month in various Web outlets, appeared in a Toronto Star piece on employee burnout, which quoted Professor Panaccio:

“We found two forms of commitment had a negative impact and made people more likely to experience emotional exhaustion or burn out — a chronic state of physical and mental depletion resulting from continuous stress and excessive work demands,” Panaccio told the Toronto Star in an interview.

Read more at the Toronto Star, and access the full HR article here.

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Quiet Desperation: Another Perspective on Employee Engagement

Karen Kelly Wollard, Broward College, published “Quiet Desperation: Another Perspective on Employee Engagement” in the November 2011 issue of Advances in Developing Human Resources. To view other articles in this special issue on “Employee Engagement & HRD: Linking Theory and Scholarship to Practice,” please click here.

The abstract:

The Problem.

Employee engagement continues to capture the interest of practitioners and scholars, yet estimates are that between 50%and 70% of workers are not engaged. Disengagement has implications for profitability, productivity, safety, mental health, turnover, and employee theft.

The Solution.

The article builds on Kahn’s concept of disengagement and presents a consolidated view of the research regarding the process of disengagement. A call to action is presented, as a plea to organizations to address cognitive, emotional and behavioral/ physical needs of the majority of workers who are less than fully engaged.

The Stakeholders.

Human resource development (HRD) researcher and practitioners who work in organizations where engagement is low, turnover is high, or morale is plummeting.

To learn more about Advances in Developing Human Resources, please follow this link.

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Meta-Analytic Review of Employee Turnover as a Predictor of Firm Performance

Julie I. Hancock, David G. Allen, University of Memphis, Frank A. Bosco, Marshall University, Karen R. McDaniel, Arkansas State University, and Charles A. Pierce, University of Memphis, published “Meta-Analytic Review of Employee Turnover as a Predictor of Firm Performance” on October 24th, 2011 in the Journal of Management’s OnlineFirst section. To read other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

Previous research has primarily revealed a negative relationship between collective employee turnover and organizational performance. However, this research also suggests underlying complexity in the relationship. To clarify the nature of this relationship, the authors conduct a meta-analytic review in which they test and provide support for a portion of Hausknecht and Trevor’s model of collective turnover. The authors’ meta-analysis includes 48 independent samples reporting 157 effect size estimates (N = 24,943), tests six hypothesized moderator variables, and provides path analyses to test alternative conceptualizations of the turnover– organizational performance relationship. Results indicate that the mean corrected correlation between turnover and organizational performance is –.03, but this relationship is moderated by several important variables. For example, the relationship is stronger in manufacturing and transportation industries (–.07), for managerial employees (–.08), in midsize organizations (–.07), in samples from labor market economies (–.05), and when organizational performance is operationalized in terms of customer service (–.10) or quality and safety (–.12) metrics.In addition, proximal performance outcomes mediate relationships with financial performance. The authors discuss implications of their results for theory and practice and provide directions for future research.

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Employee Job Search

Wendy R. Boswell, Ryan D. Zimmerman and Brian W. Swider, all of Texas A&M University, published “Employee Job Search: Toward an Understanding of Search Context and Search Objectives” on September 30th, 2011 in the Journal of Management’s OnlineFirst collection. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

Job search behaviors occur across various contexts, involving diverse populations of job seekers searching for employment opportunities. In particular, individuals may search for their first jobs following a period of education, may seek reemployment following job loss, or may search for new opportunities while currently employed. Research in each of these contexts has evolved somewhat separately, yet there is value to applying the ideas and findings from one search context to other search contexts. The purpose of this article is to review the prior research in each of the three job search contexts and offer an integrative analysis of the predictors, processes, consequences, and varying objectives of job search behavior across an individual’s potential employment situations (i.e., new entrant, job loser, employed job seeker). Implications for future research on job search behavior are discussed.

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Management INK would like to wish all of its readers a Happy Thanksgiving!!

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