by Linda Singer, SmartRecruiters
One way to build a more productive and engaged workforce is to offer flexible jobs as part of your recruiting strategy. Flexible jobs are agreements between you and your employees to have alternatives to the regular nine to five job and these types of work arrangements are continuing to gain more and more attention.
Flexibility at the workplace has advantages to both sides, as an employer take note that there is a correlation between poor work-life balance and depression as well as anxiety disorders. Strains in work-family balance can lead to dissatisfaction at work, which in turn causes supplementary costs. In fact, according to a recent Inc. article, statistics tell us a disturbing truth. 87% of workers worldwide (70% in the U.S and 84% in Canada) are not engaged with their organizations.
A workforce that is not engaged means there is a big lack of commitment. The cost to U.S. companies for disengaged employees is not limited to turnover and recruitment and is estimated at $450-$550 billion per year. According to MIT’s article “A Guide to Job Flexibility at MIT: Tools for Employees and Supervisors Considering Work Arrangements”, flexible work arrangements can improve job satisfaction among employees, as well as less absenteeism, greater commitment to the company and a reduced turnover.
In turn, this flexibility can significantly increase a company’s productivity and overall employee motivation. In addition to happier employees, flexible staffing allows companies to meet temporary needs minus the expense of hiring full-time employees. Happier employees are more motivated to work resulting in increased productivity having a positive effect on company bottom lines.
According to the Inc. article, companies with happy employees have:
- Higher EPS stock values
- 22% higher profitability
- 37% lower absenteeism
- 10% higher customer engagement
- 25-65% lower turnover
Flexible staffing is one solution for creating a happier engaged workforce. All companies, large and small, consider flexible staffing at some time or another and the need for flexible staffing is growing quickly as the evidence is proving that the benefits to both companies and employees are huge. This in turn puts a lot of additional strain on HR departments and recruiters whose services are needed more and more as the activity of hiring increases with the constant need to attract flexible workers for ever changing on-demand needs.
According to MIT’s article on job flexibility, here are the main flexible work options:
- COMPRESSED WORK WEEK: Work week is compressed into fewer, but longer days
- FLEXTIME: Work week that has variable starting and ending times
- JOB SHARING: More than one employees sharing the duties and responsibilities of one position
- PART-TIME: Less hours than a regular work week
- PERSONAL OR FAMILY LEAVES: Block of time off where the employee retains his/her job
- TELECOMMUTING: Employee who is working from home or at an alternative worksite
How to Build an Engaged Workforce with Effective Flexible Work Arrangements
The success of a flexible work arrangement relies on the agreement made between both parties. It is important to consider both the organization’s and the employee’s needs. The arrangement has to support the company goals, whether they are productivity, cost-efficiency, or any other. The individual’s work style and work history also has to fit with the arrangement. Employees who are recognized for being autonomous, self-driven and reliable can be better candidates for telecommuting for example. It is also important that the job tasks can be done effectively with this agreement. It would be more challenging, for example, if a supervisor was to have to lead his/her team when working different hours.
The arrangement must be put in writing, where the employer and the employee agree on the terms of the flexible work arrangement. These contracts can include the setting of a trial period, or the fact that it is subject to change or revocation by the employer.
Flexible jobs are the way of the future. It is a great way to provide better working conditions, as well as maintain job satisfaction and quality of life for the employees of an organization. It makes for a more inclusive work place and a more diversified engaged workforce resulting in a better bottom line for companies.