Flexible working – the question of choice is no longer a question of choice!
Simply put, jobseekers today, wants flexibility in terms of where they work, when they work and how they work.
Evolutions in technology, changing skill requirements, the live and uninterrupted access to behavioural norms through social media, global talent shortages and more, all play their part in ensuring that the ball falls perfectly back in the court of the jobseeker when it comes to what they want from an employer and how they want work to be.
The choice for employers is simple - either ignore the reality and hinder your growth potential as a business, or adapt to what is going on around us and develop alternatives ways of providing work solutions, in ways that we are being asked to provide. And this is pertinent right across the board…
In my experience, there is definitely the perception that evolved, adapted worker solutions are only really applicable across senior skilled roles – the idea that we can only offer alternative ways of working to white collar, corporates at the higher end of the pay scale. That is just wrong.
The common thread across all workers today is flexibility – they want to have fluidity and agility in their work, whether they are a chef, a software developer, a mechanic or an banker – and if businesses aren’t offering that flexibility then they are risk of missing out on attracting the best talent in the market (which can stifle growth), of not retaining their workforce (which can squeeze profitability) and in many cases harbouring non-engaged workers (which can wipe out productivity).
I have always been a big fan of the concept around creating “non-customers” in constricted markets, something that many organisations are currently experiencing in what is becoming an ever more prevalent talent short market – the idea that if we have to fight against heavy competition in a market for a share of the pie then we are always limiting our scope and potential for growth.
Equally, I am convinced there is a huge amount of skilled talent out there that companies are just not getting anywhere near, simply because they are “non-candidates”. In other words, these are jobseekers who simply would never work (even consider working) for your business because you don’t offer an attractive enough proposition that meets their needs around flexible working conditions.
So, what can the leader of a profitable and successful business do if you want to remain relevant, competitive and agile?
Training and developing new skilled workers is a great way to, in essence, create the talent you need, but that is both time consuming and costly and often a distracting, non-core function for many business owners – partner with experts who know how to deliver this efficiently and profitability as an outsourced function or recruit someone internally to focus 100% on this.
Instead, create a structure within your business that both enables and embraces flexible working by following these five simple tips:
- Create flex with your flexibility – you don’t have to have one singular way of working for everyone. Let the flexible working model evolve around the people in your business so keep reviewing it and getting feedback from your workers as to what works for them.
- Forecast your workforce planning – the agility a flexible workforce can create for your business is immense when it comes to managing peak periods, not over employing when you have quiet periods, dealing with last minute contingencies, so wherever you can, pre-plan and pre-empt when these peaks and troughs are likely to occur to maximise the benefits.
- Promote what you do – if you are a forward-thinking business that has built an environment that is clearly attractive to today’s jobseekers, then make some real noise about it. Build social campaigns to get your message out there, get your compelling proposition in front of the people you want in your business, use a specialist partner to help take you and your business brand out to the jobseeker market.
- Treat all your workers in the same way – even though you may end up with a blended workforce of perm, part time, gig workers and so on, consider them equals in how they are dealt with / your processes so you don’t lose the philosophy of being one, unified team (even if they are disparate).
- Trust your instincts – if you are going to go for it, then go for it. Don’t go half-hearted into creating flexi working but instead trust your instincts, trust your workers (you may feel a little less in control - that is ok) and trust your processes / technical infrastructure to keep order.
Partnering with a specialist recruiter who understands your specific market and working with them to build an appropriate outsourced talent solution that is not just about finding talent but about creating a total talent solution - flexible, agile, progressive and fit for purpose for your growth plans - is something I would suggest all business explore in detail. With the right recruitment partner in place, you can literally transform your potential and remove one of the biggest barriers to growth.
For any business owner that wants to attract and retain the best talent in the market, who wants to enable the growth of their business, who wants to increase profits, then the question of choice is no longer a question of choice – it is business critical.