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Work-family programs: factors affecting employee knowledge and accuracy

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to analyze the factors contributing to employee professed knowledge of work-family practices offered by employers and the accuracy of their knowledge. Designed/methodology/approach ‐ Survey data from four studies (ns=276, 2,877, 2,810, and 310) were used to relate employee demographics to their professed knowledge regarding the availability from their employing organizations of work-family practices. For a subset of one study (n=140) the accuracy of employee perceptions was compared to the practice availability as reported by HR counterparts. Findings ‐ Women, employees with dependent care responsibilities and individuals with longer organizational tenure professed greater knowledge of practice availability. Employee attitudes were more related to employee perceptions than to the actual practices as reported by their HR manager. Employees who perceived their organization as family supportive were more likely to over-report practices that their HR managers said did not exist, rather than to under-report them. Professed knowledge and accuracy of the knowledge varied substantially among practices. Researchlimitations/implications ‐ This study suggests that the relationships between practices as reported by organizations and attitudes of their employees are likely attenuated by inaccurate employee knowledge. Practical implications ‐ Organizations likely fail to reap full benefits of their enacted practices and should have strategies to better communicate their existence. Originality/value ‐ In summary, the results of this research give suggestions to reap the benefits of programs, it behooves organizations to think creatively about how best to communicate their existence, as well as reduce the time and effort that employees must expend to learn about program availability.

Keywords: Benefits; Family friendly organizations; Human resource management; Job satisfaction

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 13, 2007

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