Navigating both work roles and family roles is a major challenge for many employees. As a result, there has been a lot of research examining different aspects of work-family conflict in organizational science. However, scholars have also studied how work roles and family roles may actually benefit each other, with experiences in one role (e.g., skills gained as an employee) helping to enhance experience in the other role (e.g., applying those skills in family life). This concept is called work-family enrichment. Prior research has demonstrated that work-family enrichment contributes to employees’ performance and well-being.
Most research on work-family enrichment has focused on how employees can accumulate resources. In comparison, less research has explored how employees can better transfer resources across roles. This is an important part of work-family enrichment to examine, because work-family enrichment does not happen as a result of simply gaining resources, but rather it occurs when employees can successfully transfer resources from one role (e.g., as an employee) to another (e.g., as a spouse).
WORK-TO-FAMILY ENRICHMENT TRAINING INTERVENTION
New research (Hezkiau & McCarthy, 2020) develops a training intervention, called Resource Transfer Training, that is designed to increase employees’ transfer of resources from the work domain to the family domain. The training consists of four major components: acknowledgement of work-related resources, conceptualizing work resources at a high level, generating positive connections across roles, and mental practice.
The first component, acknowledgement of work-related resources, consists of employees acknowledging their strengths at work and therefore recognizing the benefits of their work-related resources. The second component, conceptualizing work resources at a high level, promotes the transfer of resources from work-to-family roles by having employees consider their work resources at a higher (broader) conceptual level. The third component, generating positive connections across roles, encourages transfer of resources from work-to-family by having employees actively think about their work resources that would be relevant and compatible in their personal lives. Finally, the fourth component, mental practice, refers to having employees visualize the process of using and benefitting from work resources at home.
The researchers tested their intervention using an experiment in which employees were either assigned to the Resource Transfer Training group or a control training group. The training programs (Resource Transfer and the control group) consisted of two 20-minute online sessions. In addition to receiving the training intervention, participants completed surveys at four different time points.
RESULTS OF THE STUDY
The researchers found that the Resource Transfer Training intervention had a downstream positive impact on work-to-family enrichment experiences and job-satisfaction. The results also showed that the training was more beneficial for employees who initially perceived a low level of social-emotional work resources, compared to employees who already perceived a high level of social-emotional work resources before training. This is likely due to the fact that employees who initially perceive low levels of resources have more room for improvement.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
This research suggests that a newly developed training intervention, Resource Transfer Training, is an effective way to ultimately increase work-to-family enrichment and job satisfaction. Additionally, this training is most beneficial for employees who perceive a low level of social-emotional resources at work. The Resource Transfer Training program is also a relatively simple and accessible program for organizations to implement.
Heskiau, R., & McCarthy, J. M. (2020). A work–family enrichment intervention: Transferring resources across life domains. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.