A toolkit to support human resource practice

Fatima Malik, Linda McKie, Rona Beattie, Gillian Hogg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to outline the development of a toolkit designed to assist UK small to medium enterprise businesses (SMEs) manage work-life balance (WLB) policies and practice issues, across the life stages. Design/methodology/approach: A multi-method approach was adopted combining a literature review, limited empirical study and piloting of the toolkit. Findings: Life stages pose complex work-life challenges for employees and resource and workforce management issues for employers. Demographics, employment cultures and socio-economic and labour market trends impact on the physical and psychological wellbeing of employees. In striving to fulfil multiple work-life roles, workers constantly face challenges in terms of (un)paid work/non-work commitments, caring responsibilities and changing family structures resulting in work/family tensions. This leads to workforce planning, recruitment and retention costs for businesses. Employers face challenges in working with the growing number of WLB policies and in monitoring and evaluating policies, practices and procedures. SMEs require support to adopt a comprehensive WLB approach, whilst meeting operational requirements within resource capabilities and ensuring business sustainability. Practical implications: The toolkit is a source of WLB guidance for practitioners and those with an HR role in SMEs. The paper encourages reflection on research from business and social science research to better inform human resource (HR) practice. Originality/value: The paper identifies the critical need for "WLB across the life-stages" policy and practice guidance for UK SMEs. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-307
    Number of pages21
    JournalPersonnel Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Business policy
    • Family life
    • Human resource management
    • Job satisfaction
    • Small to medium-sized enterprises
    • United Kingdom


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