Why Businesses Are Failing On Flexibility
by Sara Edwards
Current research shows consistent increases in the level of importance people are placing on flexibility:
- Nearly 40% of participants in the Global Candidate Preference Survey list flexibility in the top three factors when selecting a new position, and these rates are steadily rising with an increase of 21% within Australia in a single year.
- 55% of women and 45% of males reported to require flexible work arrangements, with those rates slightly higher within Australia.
- 90% of women believe that having access to flexibility they needed correlates to their level of success at work.
- Flexible work initiatives are cited as one of the dominant reasons for people wanting to work at the top 25 companies in Australia.
- 87% of the UK’s full time workforces want to work flexibly. Yet jobs advertised with flexible options are only at 11%.
- Flexibility is the second most important reason to work in retail.
Despite there being a general acceptance of the role and importance offlexible work, workplaces are still in the early stages of inclusion and implementation.
Organisations are being forced to evolve with the changing needs of their employees (both current and potential), which now involve over five different generations of workers. Despite 68% of Australian employers having a flexible work policy, there are an increasing number of organisations with limited knowledge of the principles underlying this approach to work and failing to move beyond the policy phase of implementation.
Research indicates that less than 5% have set targets for employee engagement in flexible work.
Organisations continue to be challenged in conceptualising what flexibility means to their organisation, and in turn their employees. There are not only gaps between the policy objective and lived experiences of a flexible work policy, there is also a general lack of knowledge of the key concepts that underpin successful flexible work and empower management to support employees in this approach to work. Combined these implementation gaps prevent the majority of organisations from experiencing the full benefits of their flexible work policy.
We offer a range of training and advice for both SMEs and large organisations in developing and implementing flexible work policies, and further, in training leaders and supervisors in managing employees utilising flexible work and workplace options.
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