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Balance or Bust

Beverly Kaye Posted by Beverly Kaye, Founder, Career Systems International.

Beverly Kaye is a bestselling author on career development and workplace performance, and the Founder of Career Systems International, an employee engagement and career development company. 

Balance or Bust

Anefo / Croes, R.C.

Here’s a manager who truly realized that little things mean a lot.

One plant manager we heard about gives each of the ninety members of his team $150 a year to do something (anything!) to bring balance into their lives. His only request: tell me how you’ve used the money. The ways in which employees spend the money underscore how individual our balance needs are. Employees report spending their money on ballroom dance lessons, a drum set, gardening tools, and instruction in Tai Chi and kickboxing. One hundred and fifty dollars per person is not a lot for him to spend, and the message he sends is crystal clear. Do you have a discretionary budget that you might spend this way?

Savvy managers view work-life balance and stress-reduction initiatives as strategic business tools, not as employee perks. Do you take wellness seriously? Have you considered that there are numerous inexpensive ways to support the necessary “breaks” that all of us need in our working lives? If employees feel a balance between work and life outside of work, you are far more likely to have employees engaged, motivated, and committed.


  • At the end of one of your staff meetings ask everyone to share their own “balance” secrets. (You start!) You’d be surprised at how often colleagues have great ideas for dealing with stress and pressure that others on the team never thought about. Ask everyone to listen for one new idea that they might do themselves. Report out at the next staff meeting!

Adapted from Love -Em or Lose’ Em: Getting Good People to Stay . Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans have co-authored Love -Em or Lose’ Em: Getting Good People to Stay (Berrett-Koehler, 1999), now available in 17 languages and recognized as the world’s best-selling employee retention book. Their latest book, Love It, Don’t Leave It: 26 Ways to Get What You Want at Work (Berrett-Koehler, 2003) offers “anyone who works” easy-to-implement strategies for increasing job satisfaction. Beverly is the founder and CEO of Career Systems International, and Sharon is the president of the Jordan Evans Group.