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Is a lack of flexible working costing you talent?

Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:01

Everyone's talking about the benefits of flexible working – but have you ever considered that a lack of flexible working options could rule out many of the best candidates for your jobs?

Flexible working success at Vodafone

Vodafone's head of talent and development, Jennifer Hayes, has discussed the impact of flexible working on their workforce with HR Magazine.

Vodafone's 'Better Ways of Working' policy is designed to give employees greater freedom to design their own working life. The three components of the policy are: flexible location, flexible hours and flexible environments.

The organisation surveyed employees before and after the policy was implemented and discovered a "significant shift in how people feel".

Employees who have flexibility about how, when and where they work often talk about having a better work/life balance, and feeling less stressed than when they were tied to a specific working pattern.

Employees want flexible working

So it's not surprising that a survey by Timewise suggests that huge numbers of the UK workforce are interested in flexible working.

The survey estimates that 14.1 million people – or 46 per cent of the UK working population – are looking for flexible working options.

But while 46 per cent of the working population are interested in some kind of flexible working, only 6.2 per cent of job ads mention flexible working. Clearly, there is a major gulf between the work people want and the work being offered.

And the survey suggests that this lack of flexibility is having a detrimental impact on employees and employers:

  • 77% of employees feel trapped in their current role because it offers the flexibility they need
  • 52% of candidates are nervous about asking for flexibility if it isn't mentioned in the job ad
  • 629,000 people want to work but can't find a job with sufficient flexibility.

Both Vodafone's comments and Timewise's research offer clear conclusions for employers. Flexible working can help to recruit and retain a highly engaged workforce. Additionally, by offering flexible working, employers can tap into a wealth of talent that is eager for the right opportunity.

Flexible working training from DeltaNet

For flexible working to work successfully, managers need to become comfortable managing in a different way, which is often the biggest barrier for organisations adopting flexible working policies.

To help overcome this barrier, DeltaNet offer a range of eLearning training for managers, including courses to help your managers deal with flexible working requests in a way that benefits both you and your employees. Explore our flexible working training and our Performance Management eLearning suite.

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