Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Blow Off the Afternoon Meeting

Your employees are watching you—especially for cues about balancing work and life.

By Ashley Keating

Everyone has been the new kid at some point—looking to your new teammates for hints about your new norms.

Those looks turn into stares around 5 pm. A new study in the International Journal of Stress Management finds that new employees are ultra-keen to discover cues about work-life balance: that is, when it’s acceptable to leave midday for a family commitment, how much personal talk can seep into meetings, when it’s safe to clock out, and so on.

The longer an employee’s tenure, the less important a leader’s work-life balance—and the more important their own needs and norms. Until then, leaders should be aware that their standards and behaviors have a big impact on new employees. 

HR can put support systems in place, and train managers to be sensitive and empathetic to work-life issues.

Sign up for the monthly TalentQ Newsletter, an essential roundup of news and insights that will help you make critical talent decisions.

Wang, Peng, et al. “From Supervisors’ Work–Family Conflict to Employees’ Work–Family Conflict: The Moderating Role of Employees’ Organizational Tenure.” International Journal of Stress Management, 2020, doi:10.1037/str0000154