Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Steps an organisation needs to take to embrace flexibility

How do you successfully integrate flexibility into your workplace? Review the successful businesses and see what they have in common. The following are common strategies used by businesses that have embraced flexible work practices. How does your business compare?

Research or workforce planning

Find out who you employees are. Do you know who works for you? Are they happy? What would make them more productive?
For example finding out:
•the proportion of women to men
•the most common age group
•the average retirement age
•the average length of employment

Managers at Pepsico Australia asks their staff the following question once each year: “What is the one simple thing I can do as your manager to improve your work-life quality?”

Policies and procedures

Do you have a teleworking policy, a flexible work policy and a parental leave policy? Are they accessible to all staff? Have they been updated lately?
Do you have procedures to turn theory into a reality?

Cultural change

Do senior level management support flexible work practices? How many senior managers work flexibly? Do senior level management have knowledge or experience with flexible work practices? Is flexibility only being offered to parents?

Regular training and workshops

Managers are continually named and shamed as the roadblocks to flexibility – help them. Look at the trends within your organisation. Do some teams seem to have more flexible workers than others? Why?

How many managers have training in how to manage a flexible workforce? Probably none.
How do you design flexible roles? How do you assess if a flexible role will work or not?

Ramping up technology

Simply having access to email and the intranet isn’t enough. Technology now needs to consider 2 things:
1. Maintaining productivity of workers in and out of the office
2. Connecting team members when they are not in the office together.

Recruitment strategies and channels

As the skill shortens worsens with an ageing population, where do you look? What will recruitment strategies look like? Be open to hiring flexible workers. Look at other channels.

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