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According to people operations platform Zenefits, and global provider of human capital management solutions, ADP, there are many solutions to choose from when creating a long-term flexibility strategy for employees. Among them: Job sharing, more-permanent remote work, 4-day work weeks, freelancing opportunities, and much more.
So how do employers and HR teams know which options might work best for their workforce?
Especially as we look ahead to a post-pandemic world, how do we best provide the best possible flexible work environment for our employees?
Our Guest: Suzanne Brown, Work-Life Balance Expert
On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends, Suzanne Brown — a strategic marketing and business consultant, award-winning author, and work-life balance expert — joined us to discuss how employers can learn to value the importance of flexible working conditions. And perhaps more critical to companies today, why flexible work schedules are a must-offer benefit for nearly everyone in the workforce today.
I started our conversation by asking what it means when employees say they want more flexibility. Suzanne’s answer showed us there are two sides to the flexibility coin:
“Employees talk about an informal side — maybe you have a sick child, and you want to stay home that day. And they talk about a more formal side, where companies include flexibility in actual company policy. That’s where working from home happens even when you’re not dealing with a pandemic. It is when you have part-time opportunities, a job share, or perhaps a split-shift. Or maybe it is where you can shift your schedule to accommodate life’s other demands — and start earlier and end earlier or start later and end later.” Regardless of the structure, Suzanne said, employers must build flexibility into a company’s culture:
“Flexibility is more than just taking an afternoon off once in a while. Flexibility is how you treat employees in the long-term.”
Long-Term Flexibility: Co-creating a Culture-Driven Solution
Suzanne went on to say that most companies are now facing post-pandemic realities: “We now realize that we aren’t going back to a formalized structure where everyone is in the office. Companies have to start thinking this through and make critical decisions. They must be able to say: ‘Okay, this is the strategic, long-term approach we’re taking on flexible work conditions in our workplace.’”
And in what has become a prevailing trend here at TalentCulture, Suzanne says the best way to learn what works best for your company is to ask employees what they need and then actively listen to the answer.
“You need to ask the questions. Maybe the input will be based on anonymous feedback or a conversation employees have with a manager or mentor. Maybe it’s through an ERG, an Employee Resource Group, where senior leadership talks to employees. Regardless of how we ask, we have to ask.” Suzanne then quickly advised, “Then you have to take the next step; you must act. And you can’t just say, ‘That was great, we heard you… but we’re going to do this instead.’” Suzanne added, “That is absolutely not what you want.”
“Because people will stick around now. But as soon as the economy starts to strengthen, and if you haven’t already built flexibility into your culture, you’ll start to lose people quickly.”
I’m sure you’ll agree this conversation with Suzanne was timely. And I know you’ll want to listen to the entire episode. Once you do, I’m confident you’ll be ready to start the right conversations with your employees.