Work-life balance is gaining increasing importance and considered to be the most important challenge encountered in the field of Human Resource Management. Advancement in technology, increase in the complexity of work, change in the values and attitudes of the young and energetic work-force are some of the factors that compel organizations to address the work- life balance issue. The general objective of this study was to assess the effect of work-life balance programs on job satisfaction of nurses in public hospitals in Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to: determine the effect of flexibility in work arrangements on job satisfaction of nurses; determine the effect of leave policies/arrangements on job satisfaction of nurses; determine the effect of employee support schemes on job satisfaction of nurses and to determine the combined effect of flexibility in work arrangements, leave policies/arrangements, and employee support schemes on job satisfaction of nurses in public hospitals in Kenya, a case of Nakuru Town. The study adopted descriptive, cross-section survey research design to collect data. The target population was 489 nurses working in three selected hospitals in Nakuru Town. The sample size of the study was 237 nurses randomly picked from the target population in accordance to Sample Size Determination Table by Krejcie and Morgan (1970). Questionnaires were used as the main data collection tool. The researcher used descriptive and inferential statistics (Pearson product correlation and multiple regression) in data analysis and presentation. The study established that leave policies/arrangements and flexibility in work arrangements programmes had a strong positive relationship/effect on job satisfaction of nurses respectively, whereas employees support schemes had a moderate positive relationship/effect on job satisfaction of nurses in public hospitals. This study contributes to the existing literature dealing with WLB and job satisfaction by providing information indicating that adoption of work-life balance programmes in public hospitals is likely to significantly improve/enhance the job satisfaction of employees. This is in agreement with research done in private sectors in developed countries. The study therefore recommends that public hospitals or organizations‟ management need to implement/adopt different WLB programmes as per the needs of the employees to enable them (employees) jungle between work and family issues with ease hence enhancing their job satisfaction.

Background Information 
The ultimate performance of organizations depends on the performance of its employees, which in turn depends on numerous factors which can be related to work or family or both. In today's business context, the pressures of work have been intensifying and there is a growing feeling among employees that the demands of work is dominating life whereby a sense of work-life imbalance is felt. The challenges of integrating work and family life/roles are a part of everyday reality for majority of workforce. Work and family are two important domains for those who are employed and work- family conflict arises when an imbalance exists between the two roles. One role may demand more time or more responsibilities, thus causing the responsibilities of the other role to be left to suffer. The two roles are often in conflict in that the more the job involvement, the higher the work-family conflict thus leading to increased burnout, lack of job satisfaction, and reduced commitment (Morgan, 2009). 

Employees work hard to strike a balance to fulfill the demands of the working life and meeting the commitments of family life. The existence of work-life imbalance or work-life conflicts among employees affects employees, employers and communities at large. Increase in work life conflict may be attributed to the nature of modern workforce in organizations, which is characterized by higher rates of labour market participation by women, a young workforce with generation „Y‟ employees, long working hours, work intensification, working in odd hours, emerging technology, global competitive market and renewed interest in personal lives and family values. Demographic changes as seen in the increasing number of women in the workplace and dual career families have generated an increasingly diverse workforce and a greater need of employees to balance their work and non-work lives (Bharat, 2003 as cited by Baral & Bhargava, 2011). 

According to Hein, (2005), as cited by Chitra, (2011), work-life balance issues have been particularly strong in developed countries where they are pushed high on political agenda. But this problem is not expressed to the equal level in developing countries. Grady and McCarthy, (2008) as cited by Chitra, (2011), reveal that today‟s employees place more emphasis on quality of working life and seek greater flexibility in their work so that they will be able to manage both work commitments and personal life. They state that among graduates and job seekers, work-life balance is found to be key in choosing an employer and it is the number one factor of job attraction and retention. Erratic work hours, more work pressure and lack of policies that support work-life balance results in work-life imbalance. The adverse effects of work-life imbalance include deterioration in psychological and physical health. It negatively affects well-being, family satisfaction, and quality of work life. From the organization‟s side, the negative effects may be a decline in productivity, reduced organizational commitment and increased turnover intentions. 

Work-Life Balance 
Generally Work-Life Balance is essentially the idea of balancing paid work commitments with other activities that are important to the individual for example spending time with family, taking part in recreational activities and volunteering or undertaking further study (Dyson, 2006). Little, (2002) states that contemporary definitions of a work-life balance highlight the immense need for work to be able to be performed in such a way that it is both humanly possible and economically viable to do it, while at the same time carried out without compromising personal and family responsibilities. Achieving a work-life balance means that employees are more flexible in their work environment and are thus better able to deal with problems and events that arise such as being able to take a day off to care for a sick child or attend an out of town function and so on. 

The notion of providing and maintaining a healthy workplace where a work-life balance is apparent has evolved vastly over the past 60 years. For employers, providing a work-life balance is about creating, establishing and utilizing employment policies in the form of initiatives that both encourage and optimize the wellbeing of all employees, thus creating a productive work culture where potential tensions between employees work and other parts of their lives out of work are minimized (Department of Labour, 2006 as cited by Branch, (2008). Studies conducted on work-life balance such as by De Cieri, Holmes, Abbott, and Pettit, (2005), noted that numerous organizations have implemented work life balance programmes to help in improving employee work-life balance, while increasing organization‟s efforts to recruit, retain, and motivate valued employees in a highly competitive market. Mumbi, Muleke, Obino and Wagoki, (2013), in a study in ECO-BANK Kenya, observed that inadequate work life balance possess a greater risk to workers performance, well-being and organizational performance. In the study it was observed that the conflict between work and family lowered the perceived quality of work and family life which, further, influences organizational outcomes like such as productivity, turnover and absenteeism which are indicators of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction. 

Hudson Highland Group, (2005:5) explains that organizations not providing real opportunity for employee work/life balance are increasingly more vulnerable to seeing more dissatisfied and unproductive employees and hence increased attrition rates. “Employees who experience increased stress due to work/life conflict and decreased perceptions of control over their work and non-work demands are less productive, less committed to, and less satisfied with their organization and more likely to be absent or leave the organization”. He further explains that strategies which are deemed to improve WLB are seen as enhancing the autonomy of workers by facilitating them to integrate and co-ordinate both their work and non-work roles. According to Little, (2002), improved WLB will facilitate greater consistency and continuity in service delivery both as a whole and will reduce economic spending resulting from significant turnover and absenteeism rates. Work life balance enhances efficiency and thus, the productivity of an employee increases. 

Work-Life Balance Initiatives/programmes 
Work-Life Balance Initiatives or programmes refer to any program/policy designed to alleviate individual conflict between work and life. These are programmes (often financial or time- related) established by an employer that offers employees options to address work and personal responsibilities. These programmes are concerned with creating and maintaining a supportive and healthy work environment, thus enabling employees to balance between work and personal duties (Melissa, 2007). A variety of work life initiatives considered important in improving worker outcomes and productivity include: flexible work arrangements (working from home, compressed work weeks, flexible working hours, job sharing, working in shifts and telecommuting); leave policies and arrangements (maternity, paternity, compassionate leaves, leave to care for sick dependents and emergency leaves), return-to-work options, resource and referral services); dependent care assistance like on-site or subsidized daycare, elderly and referral childcare) and general employee support programmes to entice employees (Felstead, Jewson, Phizacklea, & Walters, 2002). 

Work life programs which are family-friendly policies are therefore, a means of attracting, retaining and engaging workers by enabling them to balance their work and life outside thus enhancing their job satisfaction, commitment and intentions to stay in the organization. They enhance the level of autonomy of workers in the process of coordinating and integrating work and non-work aspects of their lives (Felstead, et al., 2002). Provision of WLBPs also contributes to organizational performance and effectiveness (Sands & Harper, 2007 as cited by Baral & Bhargava, 2011). Supporting employees could contribute to job satisfaction by offering alternative work schedules and family-friendly benefits. Organizations that offer flexible alternatives can engage employees and decrease job turnover (Morgan, 2009). 

Job Satisfaction 
Generally, Job satisfaction is simply how people feel about their jobs and different aspects of their jobs. It is the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs. Job satisfaction is one of the most studied topics in the field of Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychology. This is because job satisfaction occupies a central role in many theories and models of individual attitudes and behavior in I/O psychology (e.g., organizational justice, turnover), has been shown to be related to important behaviors that affect the functioning of organizations (e.g., turnover, absenteeism, organizational citizenship behavior, job performance), and has practical applications for the enhancement of individual lives and organizational effectiveness. Job satisfaction is considered a strong predictor of overall individual well-being, as well as a good predictor of intentions or decisions of employees to leave a job. It is one of the constructs that has often been used to describe nursing personnel‟s working condition, particularly because of its significant relations with other variables. 

The state of the nursing profession in Kenya 
Work–life conflict is reported to be a major contributing factor to work stress for those working in the health-care sector in many industrialized and developing countries. Over the past few decades increased work demands, working hours, shift work and staff shortages have been associated with an imbalance between work and personal life. As shift work, particularly night and weekend work, is fundamental to health care, work–life conflict is a significant concern among health-care workers particularly among females who represent a significant proportion of health-care workers. Work–life conflict, where work interferes with personal life, has been associated with a number of negative employee health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly low job satisfaction, low psychological wellbeing, burnout and depression leading to poor work performance, sickness, absence and intention to leave the health-care profession (Bryson et al. 2007; Fereday & Oster 2010 as cited by Munir, Nielsen, Garde, Albertsen, & Carneiro, 2011).

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 59 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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