With the increased cost of living and a tight employment market, pay increases are at the top of employee wish lists right now. Not surprising? Understandably, pay increases are not always achievable for all businesses, but the good news is the second most important thing employees want right now is flexible work options. With the right balance, flexible working arrangements may be a cost-effective way to meet an employee’s needs when pay increases are difficult to justify.
So what does flexibility in the workplace look like?
Flexibility can be many things but post-COVID, many employees are looking for the option to work some of their time from home. The types of flexible work options that you make available to your employees will vary according to the employee, the role they perform, your business, and the industry you work in. The key is finding options that will make your workplace more flexible and assist your employees to achieve work-life balance.
Even though workplaces have evolved substantially to allow work-from-home opportunities, we are still noticing some employers are hesitant to offer it as an option. Unfortunately, for those employers yet to jump on board, we are seeing the following:
- the best talent is avoiding inflexible employers during recruitment processes.
- talented employees of inflexible employers are leaving to find something more flexible.
- poor performers are staying and grumbling about their inflexible situation compared to others (they are comparing notes with their friends).
- employees of inflexible employers are demanding large pay increases to stay as a measure to offset the inflexibility.
Of course, there are roles that are not suitable to be worked from home such as front-line roles in retail or hospitality, and there may also be employees who prefer to work in an office, but the consensus from our observations is that many employees would like a role where they have the choice to access some form of flexible working arrangement.
As HR Professionals we have a lot of discussions about flexible work practices and hear all the excuses as to why an employer cannot offer more flexibility. Sometimes those excuses are valid, and sometimes it may be fear of the unknown creeping in or preconceived notions about trust and workplace flexibility needing to be earned by loyal service.
We ask our clients to think differently. We suggest no longer offering flexibility as a benefit that has to be earned and starting to offer it as the new way your organisation does things (its culture). Rather than finding excuses for how flexible work arrangements won’t work, flip it and ask “how could we make it work”. Finding a solution to avoid negative impacts such as high turnover, difficulty hiring, ultimatums, and poor culture may be the better option.
If you are considering offering employees flexible working arrangements and don’t know where to start, contact us to arrange a flexibility session where we can discuss the challenges and some pragmatic solutions that may work for your business, or parts of your business. Call us on 07 5655 4047 or arrange a free introductory session.