Flexibility: 4 Ways To Deliver What Workers Want Most Today
While Covid-19 has unquestionably altered our world dramatically, perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the workplace.
Right now we’re in the midst of a workplace revolution at both the corporate level and on the hourly front lines. Where there was once a top-heavy balance of power held by the employer, today the employee-employer relationship is trending toward a more even partnership. Employers taking this approach help employees achieve a greater balance between their work and their life, which in turn increases employee satisfaction and improves overall productivity and morale.
Businesses are finding that today’s employees have new priorities and values, and that workers increasingly are turning their backs on traditional incentives such as higher wages and added health benefits. Instead, they favor jobs that focus on workplace flexibility.
From a business perspective, investing in the employee and their well-being also promotes loyalty and engagement. This naturally increases retention, ultimately helping your business be more successful.
For evidence of this transformation, my team at Snagajob surveyed 1,872 hourly workers about their holiday season employment wishes and found that 45% were looking for a more flexible work schedule in their next job. We also found that the number-one benefit hourly workers coveted this past holiday season was a flexible work schedule. Fortunately, savvy businesses are finding they can offer candidates this highly coveted benefit in many different ways. Here are four opportunities to provide the workplace flexibility today’s employees want.
1) Flexible hybrid work environment
Long commute times, constant interruptions, and a stale work environment are just a few factors that make working “on-site” problematic. Feelings of burnout can increase in an environment that’s not conducive to productivity and comfort. In many industries, providing employees with the option for a more fluid home-to-office schedule can give them the freedom of decision-making and the ability to adapt their work to a more personal lifestyle.
However, this begs the question, What if the work cannot be done at home? For many hourly workers, the workplace is not replaceable. Instead, you can take the approach of flexible shift scheduling.
2) Flexible scheduling
Seven in 10 survey respondents reported that flexible scheduling is one of the top four things they look for in a job description. (The others were pay rate at 83%, number of hours or shifts at 79%, and benefits at 54%.)
Scheduling is one of the many issues that has become a point of contention for both employees and employers. Yet this can be easily addressed. A possible solution here would be to implement an interactive and accessible scheduling system. This system can still be managed by your business, but taking this approach recognizes and values an employee’s often busy, ever-changing schedule. This approach also honors their autonomy to make decisions about when they want to work.
3) Flexible work structure
Workers who relish the “gig economy” have never had more work opportunities than now. They can pick and choose jobs at will. To attract these desirable hourly workers, adopting a work structure that supports those looking to split their time between different jobs and different workplaces has many benefits.
This work structure has been modeled by many popular work sites including our own, which offers our Shifts platform for gig workers. This work format can be seen as a step toward the future of work. In addition, it provides a solution to the challenge of retention, while also giving employees the freedom to work when and where it best suits their changing needs.
4) Flexible treatment of individuals
We’re all individuals with unique personalities and work habits. What makes one person more productive can make another person less so. This has been increasingly acknowledged within the white-collar workplace, where individuals are often given the freedom to work whatever hours they want and from wherever they want.
This flexible treatment of individuals also can apply to hourly workers. In a flexible workplace, managers reinforce the treatment of employees as dynamic individuals and make an effort to accommodate personal styles and needs.
Employers who embrace flexibility will ultimately provide workers with greater latitude about how to best accomplish their goals and how to work to achieve them. This involves acknowledging that for an increasing number of employees, work is not life – that employees at all levels have other priorities such as children, other jobs, or the pursuit of education. Implementation of this workplace culture includes assessing an individual’s needs and providing the necessary tools and guidance to help them optimize their desired experience.
Employees want and deserve flexibility. To be successful in recruiting and retaining today’s workers, it’s critical for your business to understand this evolution and take action to adapt your hiring to a post-pandemic workplace.
When all is said and done, employees are more responsive to a business that offers them flexibility. They appreciate a company that understands they’re a well-rounded and busy person.
Looking ahead, as these workers seek more from their jobs, employers must begin to “flex” to people’s needs. Only through this new freedom will you instill trust in employees, and ultimately grow and retain your staff.
Brian Schmidt is Chief Revenue Officer for Snagajob.
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