Best Practices Of Work Life Balance In Westpac And AU Defence Force: A Comparative Analysis

Importance of Work Life Balance in Employee Retention

In order to increase efficiency among the employees, giant companies give immense importance to the initiatives through which employees will be able to maintain a balance between their personal life and professional life. The companies who encourage work life balance among the employees are seen to have more employee retention since the employees feel valued while working in these organizations. Hence shedding light on the importance of the practices of Work Life Balance the study will be analyzing as well as comparing two organization as to how they initiates and encourage the work life balance within the employees.  The paper discusses the whole study into two parts. While the first part of the discussion focuses on the best practices of Westpac in terms of Work Life Balance drawing a comparison with AU Defence Force, the second part of the discussion sheds light on the recommendations to AU Defence Force in order to become a best practice organization. In addition to that, the paper also identified and elaborated the possible challenges which may occur in the attempt of AU Defence Force to transform into an organization with the best practices of Work Life Balance.

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Part 1 – Comparison between Westpac and AU Defence Force in terms of WLB practices

Westpac Banking Corporation or popularly known as simply Westpac is a banking and financial service provider based in Australia. The organization has secured a place among the best four banks in Australia. As per the latest record, the employ size of the company is nearly 40000. Beside of aiming to be world’s best service company, the organization gives special attention on the increasing the efficiency of the employees by giving them benefits (,2018). The benefits are given to the employees in order to assist the employees so that they will be able to maintain the balance between personal life and professional life.

In order to assure the employees are working with extreme efficiency, Westpac has identified the issues faced by the employees of the company. Westpac gives employment to a wide range of people from different age groups. With the advancement of time, the company has recruited more women in the business operation (, 2018). The major issue faced by the women employee of the company is that they face challenges in taking time out to take care of their children and elderly people causing stress. Due to high level of stress, most of the women working in the organization fail to meet efficiency at work (, 2018).

Work Life Balance at Westpac

On the other hand, employees of old age towards their phase of retirement demand flexibility of working from the organization. Meanwhile, the flexibility of working also is on the list of demand highly from the employees from the younger generation (, 2018). The employee who belong to the younger generation also demand work life balance and more career growth. On the other hand there are impacts of external factors on the employees since the professional environment is changing day by day (, 2018). Due to more globalization, the entire banking sector has become more competitive demanding more efficient performance from the employees. In addition, satisfying the increased demands of the customers also has become another challenge that the employees of the organization face (, 2018). In the meantime, technology and operational changes cause several challenges for the employees.

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The above mentioned people’s issues impacted the employee engagement of the organization to a greater extent. Ranging from the productivity of the employees to retention and employee satisfaction, the organization faced issues in several areas of human resource management and organizational behavior (, 2018). Thus, in order to mitigate the people’s issue faced by the employees of the organization, Westpac focused more on providing the employees flexibility at work in terms of time, locations, careers and contracts. In terms of time, the organization emphasizes on the implementation of several types of leaves, hourly shift timings of working, compressed working weeks, part time workings and job share (, 2018). At the same time under locations, the organization focused on telecommunication, usage of mobile, working flexibility from home and so on. In the other segmentation, focus of the organization was on breaks from the employment like study leave and phased leave (, 2018). In addition to these, the major focus was on the type of hiring employees such as contractual, permanent and casual.

Over the years Westpac has taken several measures in order to assist the employees to maintain work life balance while working in the organization. The initial focus of the organization was to assist the women employees of the organization since they occupy a major portion of the workforce in the organization (Smith, 2018). During the years of 1995 and 1996, the female employees were given the provision of paid leaves so that they will be able to continue their employment with the organization (, 2018). Before this implementation, previously women employees had to discontinue their employment during the pregnancy period. Even if the women employees wished to rejoin the organization after the pregnancy period, they had to face immense challenges since they had to take care of the children as well. As a result, often the female employees ended up losing the balance while maintaining the work pressure and the personal life causing inefficiency of the employees (, 2018). Hence, in order to help the women employees in a considerable manner, Westpac introduced paid maternity leave. This benefit was designed to be given to the women members of the organization during the time of pregnancy and the post pregnancy period. The provision of maternity make the employees feel valued at the organization (Financial Review, 2018). Westpac has effectively addressed the issues of the women employees in terms of work life balance with this provision of maternity leave. Westpac also included the provision of giving the remuneration to the women employees in order to strengthen the employee engagement more (, 2018).

Work Life Balance at AU Defence Force

In the same years, Westpac also introduced part time work opportunity for the employees working in the area of Electronic design automation in order to meet the satisfaction of the employees who did not want to work as full time employee at the organization (, 2018). In the following year, that is 1997, the employees of the company were given another benefit that is work from home in order to generate maximum support from the employees (, 2018). Often due to several circumstances, employees would find it impossible to come to office. However, given the provision of working from home, employees find it helpful since it saves unintentional absent from work. On the other hand in order to provide further support to the women members, the company took the initiative of introducing the child care centers (, 2018). The child care centers were developed with the intention of taking care of the children of the employees during the working hours of the employees. The practices include the development of

The organization further integrated the practices of work life balance within the organization by introducing Information & referral service with an aim of bringing the employees and service together in 1998 (, 2018). Along with Information & Referral service, including the allowance for the child care in the salary package so that the employees will be encouraged to continue employment with the company.  Westpac continuing the integration process of work life balance in the company improved the leave policy of the company by implementing alternate sick leave policy, workforce planning, career break, purchase leave and community volunteering day (, 2018). All these policies were included in order to help the employees to maintain their efficiency at work. In the year of 2001, Disability Discrimination Plan No.1 was another major noteworthy activity of the company in order to strengthen employee engagement of disable people in the organization (, 2018). Through the implementation of Waived status EOWA in the year of 2002, Westpac assured that the women employees in the organization are provided with equal opportunities.

In the year of 2003, E-learning discrimination, harassment training were included in the practices of Work Life Balance of the company in order to stop employee harassment at work and to stop ill practices like discrimination within the organization. The same year witnessed the policies like Online Diversity Census and ATO ruling on FBT Exemption for child care (, 2018). While Online Diversity Census was implemented with a view of developing and maintaining workplace diversity ATO ruling on FBT Exemption for child care aimed to integrate the legal structure mainly the taxation on the employee part. In order to keep the women employee of the company motivated and to manage their stress several programs were included under the Women’s Development Program (, 2018). The Disability Discrimination Action Plan No. 2 was further improved with more changes in the same year that is 2004, in order to address the issue of discrimination and harassment at work (Financial Review, 2018). The other noteworthy changes in the year of 2005, leadership program were initiated so that professionals in the leading positions can accept the differences in the organization enthusiastically. In addition to that parental leave of 12 weeks was decided to be given to both the women employees and the men employees (, 2018). With all the changes within the organization Westpac has been able to be successful in addressing the challenges like employee productivity, organizational culture, and employ engagement and so on.

Challenges faced by Employees in Maintaining Work-Life Balance

The Au Defence Force also gives importance to the practices of Work Life Balance. However, in comparison with the work life balance policy of Westpac, AU Defence’s WLB policies are seem to be less ineffective to support its employees in maintaining the balance between the professional life and the personal life (Child Family Community Australia, 2018). While Westpac gives an extended paid maternity leave to the women employees of the company in order to provide support to them, AU Defence gives the provision of paying the women employees on leave up to 14 weeks (, 2018). Due to the support of paying throughout the leave period, women employee retention is seen in Westpac in high rate than AU Defence Force. Similarly the employees in AU Defence Force during their paternal leave are paid only for 4 weeks. The employees taking more than 4 week leave receive no payment (, 2018). Contrasting with AU Defence Force’s WLB policies, Westpac’s employees feel more secured and satisfied since they are paid throughout the leave whether it is parental leave or maternal leave. The other major difference between the WLB policies between the two organizations is the career break opportunity to the employees (, 2018). An employee in Westpac can take a break from his or her employment if the person wishes for further higher studies or for any other purpose. However, AU Defence Force gives such provision to the employees of its company for a short time like 15 days or maximum of 1 month which is not sufficient for a person who aspires to add more degrees to his or her curriculum vitae (Tan, 2018).

A wide range of benefits are enjoyed by Westpac’s employees in terms of WLB policies. In order to motivate the women employees of the company, Westpac arranges several development programs inclusive of child care centers, packaging child care, etc. for the women employees so that they can be remained motivated (, 2018). However, AU Defence Force does not provide any such benefits to the women working in the organization. Hence, quite naturally the Westpac has achieved to attain employee satisfaction more than AU Defence Force (ABC News, 2018). On the other hand, Westpac’s major noteworthy implementation was the measures against discrimination and employee harassment of the employees at work. Thus, it is seen from the above analysis that Westpac is way more ahead of AU Defence Force since the WLB practices by Westpac are more effective and integrated than that of AU Defence Force (Child Family Community Australia, 2018).

In accordance with WLB practices by Westpac, certain recommendations can be given through which AU Defence can be benefitted.

  • AU Defence Force needs to give more attention to the women employees and their engagement with the company. Hence, benefits like the provision of complete paid maternal leaves with the work from home opportunity can be helpful in increasing the efficiency of the women employees.
  • Since AU Defence Force is an Army organization, the major employee base of the company comprises of men professionals. Thus, in order to attract the participation of women, several benefits like child care centers, equal opportunity of promotion, etc, can be given included its policy of Work Life Balance.
  • In order to assist the employees to maintain a balance between professional life and personal life, the AU Defence Force can arrange survey over online mode in order to have knowledge regarding the expectation and requirement of employees.
  • Arranging workshops in which the employees will be informed about the practices of WLB by the company and their intention of providing support to each of the employess so that they will be able to maintain a harmony will be highly beneficial for AU Defence Force.
  • The organization should be encouraging the employees with practice of bring home at work not work at home in order to assure that they will feel valued at work. In addition to that health benefits like weekly physician consultation can be strengthen the employee engagement within the organization.
  • Meanwhile, small celebrations should be on the priority with view of helping the employees to reduce stress and monotony since the company gives employment to the military officials. Additionally, AU Defence Force should give instances of great army individuals who managed the stress of army job role effective and achieved success while motivating the employees to practice balance in personal life and professional life.

The possible challenges which might occur in the process of transformation of AU Defence Force are as follows:

  • The major challenges might be the legal factors as the policies need to be in effect according to specific acts and labor laws. The company needs to fulfill the Fair Work amendment 2009 while implementing WLB policies otherwise legal obligations might create consequences and disruption in the process of transformation.
  • The other challenge is related to the proper understanding of the purpose of WLB practices by the employees. The organization need to educate the employees that the improved WLB policies will give by the company so that employees can maintain a balance in life and remain efficient to their work. However, without proper understanding, the employees might misuse the benefits given to them.


Thus, in order to concluded it is apt to state that the study has given a comparative analysis on the practices of Work Life Balances between two organizations, namely Westpac and AU Defence Force. The first half of the discussion threw light on the best practices of Westpac in terms of Work Life Balance drawing a comparison with AU Defence Force. On the other hand, the second part of the discussion elaborated on the recommendations to AU Defence Force in order to become a best practice organization. Additionally, the study also identified and elaborated the possible challenges which may occur in the transformation process of AU Defence Force into an organization with the best practices of Work Life Balance.


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Child Family Community Australia. (2018). Service provision for Defence force families. Retrieved from (2018). Recreation leave : Leave : Department of Defence. Retrieved from (2018). Work Life Balance : What We Offer : Department of Defence. Retrieved from

Financial Review. (2018). Westpac takes lead in parental leave. Retrieved from (2018). Women in the Australian Defence Force | Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved from

Smith, F. (2018). Paid family leave transformed Australian business – it’s now under threat. Retrieved from

Tan, M. (2018). Recruitment and retention of women still too low in Australian defence force. Retrieved from (2018). Dads on parental leave? Not normal…yet. Retrieved from (2018). Flexible ways of working | Westpac. Retrieved from (2018). Operating principles and policies | Westpac. Retrieved from (2018). Work / life integration at Westpac. Retrieved from