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MULTI-INDUSTRY SURVEY FINDS SURPRISING GAPS IN WORKLIFE PROGRAMS

 LANSDALE, Pa., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- You can't predict an industry's approach to worklife by the nature of its business, according to a survey of practices and policies of more than 200 "Fortune" 1000 companies in 12 different industries recently completed by The Partnership Group (TPG).
 However, the size of the available workforce and the employee demographics of a given industry can provide some indication as to how advanced that industry might be in the worklife arena.
 INDUSTRY RANKING: APPROACHES TO WORKLIFE
 More Progressive > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > More Traditional
 Chemicals Insurance Financial Aerospace Wholesale/
 Publishing Paper Health Care Retail Commodities
 Banking Scientific
 Equipment
 Electronics
 "Although we initially expected that an industry like health care would offer a broader range of worklife programs than the paper industry, for example, the reverse turned out to be the case," said Peter O'Donnell, executive vice president, Corporate Partnerships for TPG. "In fact, a number of fairly conservative industries, including chemical manufacturing and insurance, proved to be ahead of the curve in terms of their worklife offerings."
 However, even in the most progressive industries, employees generally only have access to a small percentage of the full range of worklife options. While an increasing number of companies are aware of the importance of worklife programs to their employees, few go beyond the basics such as employee assistance programs and flexible spending accounts for dependent care.
 He also noted that few companies are keeping abreast of changing employee needs. "Ten years ago, when the baby boomers began having children, worklife programs centered around child care. Today, an increasing number of American employees are taking care of aging relatives," he said. "However, this shift is barely reflected in the types of worklife assistance that most companies offer."
 O'Donnell also said that a number of common misconceptions turned up in the research. Most surprising was the perception that implementing worklife programs is time-consuming and expensive. "We've found that the opposite is more likely to be true," he said. "Companies that offer worklife programs often find that they have a positive impact on the bottom line, because their employees are able to be more focused and productive on the job."
 Finally, the survey revealed that while the majority of respondents in all industries anticipate a more diverse workforce, preparations for meeting the needs of a different kind of workforce are taking place at only a limited number of the companies surveyed. Just over 16 percent had established the position of worklife manager, and only 11 percent had established a permanent worklife task force. These longer term organizational moves were considered to be indicative of a desire for "cultural change" within a company.
 These findings are based on a survey of 238 "Fortune" 1000 companies in 12 industries: health care, diversified financial, aerospace, scientific equipment, electronics, chemical manufacturing, banking, insurance, retail, paper, publishing, and wholesale/commodities.
 The research, designed to assess both current and anticipated approaches to meeting workforce needs in these industries, covered six areas. Three of these (Flexible Work and Leave Practices, Financial Assistance for Dependent Care, Dependent Care Services and Associated Programs) dealt with current practices and covered a range of potential offerings. Involvement in Community Affairs investigated activities that seek to address larger community resource issues. Finally, Views on Family and Work Issues and The Future of Family and Work Issues examine corporate perspectives and expectations.
 The Partnership Group is a leading designer and manager of worklife strategies for more than 100 corporations across the United States, through which it serves more than 600,000 employees. TPG's staff works with employers to evaluate existing human resource policies and practices and to help develop effective responses to family and work issues. TPG has offices in the Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco areas.
 /delval/
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 /CONTACT: Peter O'Donnell or Lynn Fetterolf of The Partnership Group, 215-362-4916, or Steve Rosen or Lisa Thompson of Weightman PR, 215-977-1700, for The Partnership Group/


CO: The Partnership Group ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

JO-MK -- PH019 -- 1136 01/11/94 16:51 EST
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Date:Jan 11, 1994
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