A team led by Marla Baskerville Watkins approached individuals in a large sample of US government agency workers to identify those who were willing to be involved alongside their partner. 102 couples completed the data collection which consisted of two phases: the first collected demographic data from the employee and asked each partner to rate the amount of disruption that the employee's work posed to family life. The second phase one month later asked the employee how they perceived their own levels of work-family conflict, and additionally the degree to which they were looking for another job.
Employees were more likely to be engaged in a job search when their partners had higher perception of work-family conflict, even after controlling for the employee's own perceptions. I may feel the late hours and weekend work is reasonable, but if my other half doesn't, I may find myself looking for other options. Baskerville Watkins and team remind us that many organisations already recognise the importance of engaging with their employees' partners in a specific context: expatriation to an unfamiliar country. But they suggest that it may be more worth more broadly for organisations 'to consider family members in employer retention endeavours.'