Flexible Work Arrangements For Your Workforce

As social distancing orders are lifted, and businesses reopen, employee requests for flexible hours and remote-work arrangements will be part of the new normal. Now that many employers have experienced how successful telecommuting can be for their organisation or how work hours that differ from the normal 9-to-5 can be adopted without causing dents into productivity, offering flexible work arrangements have become more commonplace.

Even in the absence of a pandemic, flexible work arrangements can improve recruitment and retention efforts, increase organisational diversity efforts, encourage ethical behaviour and help the organisation’s efforts to be socially responsible. Employers can experience cost savings, improved attendance and productivity, and an increase in employee engagement which almost always translates into more productivity.

Many U.S. workers now consider work/life balance and flexibility to be the most important factors in considering job offers. In fact, 81% of employees said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options, according to a 2020 survey by FlexJobs. However, offering flexible work arrangements can involve a paradigm shift for organisations, especially smaller ones that may not have the critical mass of technology, budget, management and competitive flexibility necessary to make extensive use of flexible work arrangements.

It’s tough to satisfy everyone. The following practical, real-world approaches will help you treat your people as the individuals they are without creating a chaotic mess of confusing, arbitrary exceptions.

Start one-on-one to understand real employee needs

We might assume, a full 18 months into the pandemic experience, that we’re familiar with what our team members want and how they function best. But people change their minds, or want different things as their circumstances change. So before structuring schedules or work formats, take steps to learn about employees’ current situations in terms of physical work locations and scheduling and gauge their satisfaction with work assignments and career trajectory. Questions to ask include:

  • How well has your team been working together?
  • Do you have access to the decision-makers you need?
  • How well have you been able to arrange cross-functional collaborations?
  • Are there tools, information, or other kinds of support that would help you perform better?
  • How comfortable do you feel about your current work situation?

You won’t be able to satisfy every preference, but when employees trust that you have their best interests in mind, the likelihood of improved retention, productivity, and innovation increases.

Ensure alignment with your own employer branding

If you have a history and culture that treats employees as crucial stakeholders, they’ll expect you to give significant consideration to their preferences and needs. If you’ve always talked about “being like a family,” now’s the time to make that promise real and take care of all your “family members” by accommodating individual needs for schedule adjustments and even modifications to responsibilities when people are under particular duress. If you’ve emphasised that your employees are your most important asset, be sure that you’ve provided resources and communicated about how people can use them to ensure theirs and their families’ wellbeing. This might include providing access to or references or financial support for childcare, eldercare, or mental health services during what continues to be a difficult period.

Don’t mistake physical presence for loyalty

Many leaders once believed that employees speaking openly about wanting to protect or support themselves or their families was a sign that they might not be fully committed to their leaders, teams, organisations, or missions. Employees’ extraordinary dedication during the pandemic should have put that belief to rest. Today, leaders who are unwilling to accept employees’ commitments to the rest of their lives will have a significantly harder time holding on to staff. Whether they work on-premises or remotely, employees who feel supported in doing what’s right for their own lives are likely to feel even more strongly about their commitment to their organisation, rather than suffering from ongoing ambivalence, fear, or resentment — all of which are likely to have a negative impact on their work relationships and output.

This tailored approach will be challenging and time-consuming in the beginning, but it’s significantly less costly than watching your investment in critical staff walk out the door, or not being able to attract the specific talent you need. In the long-term, most employees will observe how well the organisation adapts to theirs and their colleagues’ needs and will end up gravitating to the most popular and effective programmes and solutions.

Advantages of Flexible Work Programmes

Defenders of flexible work initiatives point to the competitive advantages that such programs bring to companies that offer these sorts of programmes. Perhaps the single most cited reason for introducing a flexible work environment is employee retention. Indeed, many businesses stated that the recent trend toward flexible time and other programmes has made it necessary for them to introduce their own programmes or risk losing valued employees. “Another business argument for flexible work arrangements is that they allow companies to match the peaks and valleys of activity,” wrote Elizabeth Sheley in HRMagazine. “More organisations have shifted their focus to how potential changes in schedule will affect the product. Reduced absenteeism, though often overlooked, is also a legitimate business rationale; flexible options not only strengthen commitment, but also give employees more time to handle the very situations that sometimes lead to absenteeism.”

Flexible work programmes provide a way for businesses to increase employee loyalty without resorting to making fundamental changes in their operations. Indeed, Sheley observed that “the most popular flexible work options are those that involve the least change. Flexible time and compressed work weeks, for example, call for the same number of hours, at the same workplace, as in traditional work arrangements.”

Disadvantages of Flexible Work Programmes

Flexible work programs have many apparent advantages, but critics point out that ill-conceived programs can have a negative impact on businesses, and they add that even good programmes often present challenges that a business has to address. First of all, business owners and managers need to recognize that flexible work arrangements are not always appropriate for all people, jobs, or industries. Telecommuting and other “flexplace” arrangements, for example, can be disastrous (or at the very least a productivity drain) if used by employees who are unwilling or unable to put in a full day of work amid the non-work temptations (television, pleasure reading, housecleaning, etc.) of a home setting.

Critics also contend that flex programs often leave managers in exceedingly difficult situations. “Far too often, flex is embraced for its ‘family-friendly’ aspects long before the corporate support needed to manage it takes root,” wrote Martha H. Peak in Management Review. “In these companies, flexible policies are outlined in the employee manual but implementation is left up to individual managers. Then, when managers try to implement these programmes, they discover that to be fair, flex requires them to treat different employees differently.”

In today’s business world, flexible employment staples such as flextime and telecommuting continue to grow, in large measure because businesses that introduce them continue to prosper while simultaneously improving the quality of life of their employees. Looking ahead, it seems clear that flexible work programmes will continue to be used more and more frequently. With the rise of the Internet and rapid spread of high-speed connections to the Internet in homes and offices alike, the tools necessary to make flexible work programmes successful are multiplying. Creating a flexible work programme suitable for a particular business and company will continue to be an individual endeavour but one that is made ever easier with new technologies and communication tools.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2021/10/creating-flex-work-policies-when-everyone-has-different-needs
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingflexibleworkarrangements.aspx
https://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/flexible-work-arrangements.html

Questions To Ask Your New Boss

No matter how many years you’ve worked, starting a new job is often nerve-racking. There are so many unknowns to figure out, and one of the biggest questions are about your new boss. How can you set your relationship up for success?

Understanding Your New Boss’ Expectations

When you get a new boss, things are bound to change. Your new boss will most likely have different expectations for you and your team, a different view of your department’s direction, different ways of communicating, and different priorities than your previous boss. Part of managing your career is taking a proactive part in understanding what is expected of you by your new boss.

Beginning a new job is always a little overwhelming. Not only are you adjusting to a whole new project, office, and set of coworkers, you’re also trying to figure out what your boss wants and how to deliver it. The answer is the same as with getting to know anyone new in your life, whether socially or professionally—you start a conversation, you ask questions.

Of course, it’s not always easy to be the one starting a conversation, but establishing good rapport with your new boss will go a long way toward creating and maintaining a positive work environment. Talking with your boss is the best way to get valuable feedback on your performance, even when it is not annual review time. And, more times than not your relationship with your boss is one of the key factors in advancing your career.

While there’s no universal or simple formula for improving your ability to get along (and work effectively) with your new boss, the good news is that you will make a great deal of progress if you can ask the right questions. Here are a few questions you may want to take into consideration.

1. Who should I meet with outside of our team?

This is why office politics are so important; your ability to figure out how to influence others will improve if you can get to a quick understanding of the unspoken or informal networks that govern the social dynamics of your new team or organization. Your boss is ideally placed to provide you with this intel. 

2. What’s the best way to ask for your input and feedback?

Establishing a cadence where you can get regular feedback on how you are doing, even via 15-minutes weekly chats or regular email check-ins, will help you regulate and calibrate your efforts to improve your performance. 

3. What would you do if you were in my shoes?

This question will not just invite your manager to empathize with you — allowing them to see things from your perspective — it will also show them that you respect them and appreciate their expertise. No matter how logical or insightful their advice may be, it can create a good connection between the two of you and further deepen your understanding of how your manager thinks, feels, and acts.

4. How can I further develop my potential?

Great leaders excel at coaching and mentoring their people. You can nudge your boss to play this role by asking them to assess and develop your potential. This means going beyond your performance to focus also on what you could do. In a world that is increasingly pushing us to reskill and upskill, it is hard to underestimate the importance of expanding our horizons and being open to reimagining or reinventing our talents to future-proof our career. Incidentally, this question will also clarify the existing criteria for promotion and advancement, which will help you be objective and pragmatic about your plans (and will keep your boss honest).

5. What could I be doing better?

After a few weeks on the job, asking this question may encourage your boss to provide you with much-needed guidance for closing the gap between how you are performing and what your boss expects from you. In their attempt to avoid conflict and maintain positive morale, many managers find it hard to provide employees with negative evaluations, so wording your feedback request in this way can help them focus on your improvement areas. It also signals that you are eager to understand how you can get better, even if you are doing well. 

A final point to consider: every person is unique, including you and your new boss. Invariably, this means that some of these questions might not be be applicable given the situation and your growing relationship. But the general rule still stands: you will accelerate your career success if you can manage your boss better. This requires you to understand them better, and a deliberate strategy that starts with smart questions can help. 

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2021/10/7-questions-to-ask-your-new-boss
https://leadhonestly.com/blog/9-questions-to-get-to-know-your-boss
https://www.donnaschilder.com/blog/leadership-blog/questions-to-ask-your-new-boss-to-quickly-create-a-productive-relationship/

Is It the Right Time for a Career Change?

Whether you call it “The Great WorkQuake,” “The Great Resignation,” or “The Great Reset”, up to 41% of employees are thinking about changing their career right now. There are a lot of reasons for them to consider leaving. A strong labour market is pushing up wages and benefits, and companies are offering additional perks to attract new talent. Some workers may be fed up with their existing company’s toxic or unappreciative culture, inflexible work arrangements, or pay inequity. Some may be suffering from burnout or general work/life dissatisfaction. Some are leaving their jobs simply because they can afford to — U.S. personal savings hit a record high of 33% this year. Add in the opportunities to “work from anywhere,” and you can understand why we’re seeing employees quitting in record numbers in 2021.

But before drafting your resignation letter, take a hard look at whether quitting is the best way to achieve your long-term career goals. So how do you know whether staying at your current company might be the better decision for you? Here are a few key factors to consider:

1. You have no idea what you want next – only that you don’t want what you have now

Too many aspiring career changers get so worked up resenting a job that isn’t ideal, yet they don’t have a viable alternative. By alternative, I don’t mean a new job in hand, but just a prototype for a job – roles that match what you want and companies that interest you. It’s critical that you are moving towards something you want and not just away from something you don’t.

I call this the pull-over-push reason for wanting a career change. You want to be pulled by the a glorious future – excitement for the role or industry, enthusiasm for what you can accomplish, eagerness to make a contribution in the new field. The pull is attractive to employers, and it’s a powerful guide to help you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of a career change. If you are just pushed out of your current situation – literally pushed out because your apathy caused your performance to drop or you quit out of feeling bored and undervalued – then quitting isn’t going to give you any more clarity. It’s just going to make you more anxious as your savings run down.

2. Your company may have unforeseen opportunities.

As key employees are departing companies, they’re triggering an organisational shuffle. Their departures could mean opportunities for you to take on new responsibilities, build new relationships, and be seen with fresh eyes by management.

If you’ve been building the right relationships, you can take advantage of this moment to both develop your skill set and add value to the organisation. You could end up with a new role — either a great lateral move or a promotion — or an opportunity to lead or participate in a strategic initiative that offers you increased visibility. The pandemic has led many companies to revisit their strategic goals and initiatives. As in poker, sometimes it’s best to just hold ‘em until you see everyone’s cards and can make an educated decision around your future.

3. You can’t name at least three professional connections who you could call right now to jumpstart your job search

Your network is so important to your job search and not just because it helps to have referrals. Even if you don’t get an introduction to a job, your network can provide information. For example, information about the people you’ll be interviewing with – what their personalities are like, what their work priorities are. Industry experts can give you nuance about the trends and challenges facing your dream employers so you can impress them with how much you already know. It’s so much more effective to tend to your network when you don’t need anything. Otherwise, getting back in touch feels contrived or even manipulative. Don’t be the person who only gets in touch when they need something. Before you quit your job, invest several weeks, if not months, on rekindling your professional connections. You want to flex your dormant networking muscles when you can take your time. Otherwise you risk rushing the process and overstepping your ask, a networking mistake even the smartest professionals make.

4. The best time to stretch your capabilities is in a job you hate

You can practice negotiating hard because if they fire you, that just means you get severance instead of quitting with nothing. You can practice pushing back on unreasonable requests or pitching ideas without fear of rejection because you have nothing to lose. You can finally set boundaries with your needy colleagues because you won’t see them soon enough. The best time to expand the negotiation, communication and relationship skills that you know you’re going to need in every job is in the job you have right now. At the very least, you were leaving anyway so if things get awkward, you’re out of there. But at its best, you might find that you greatly improve your environment, your relationships, even your stature. You might feel better enough about your job that you no longer want to quit.

5. It’s a great time to negotiate

Not completely happy with your current situation? Employees have unprecedented leverage at this time to reasonably discuss pay, working conditions, growth opportunities, workplace flexibility, and career-development benefits such as executive education and coaching support. Use this moment to approach your manager and have an open and professional dialogue around what’s possible and what will help you do your job even better. Keep it friendly and conversational — and come armed with data about your performance to make it easy for them to go to bat for you. Savvy companies are focused on retention and acutely aware of the risk and cost of losing great employees like you.

If you’re evaluating your work situation and not quite sure whether to stay or go, reflect on these questions:

  • How satisfied am I in my job now? Consider everything from equitable pay, meaningful work, acceptable working conditions, benefits, job stability, healthy workplace culture, and opportunities for continued growth.
  • What is likely to change (both positive and negative) at my company over the next six to 12 months? How could those changes benefit my career journey? Remember that a bad situation can still be an opportunity to grow given the right conditions.
  • What actions can I take to increase the likelihood of moving into a more fulfilling within my company? Don’t hesitate to ask this question of your manager or other trusted advisors.

If you believe you have the ingredients you need to make the most of staying put, speak with your boss, sponsor, HR, and other people who support you. Demonstrate a powerful case for what you bring to the company, and express your commitment to being flexible and achieving company objectives. Stay connected with others, creating informal information networks, and don’t stop building your industry connections. Know your organisation and manager’s goals and volunteer strategically to contribute where you can make a positive impact. Staying put and doubling down is often the most effective strategy to get you the role and work life you’ve been dreaming about.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-always-just-quit-job-you-hate.html
https://hbr.org/2021/10/5-reasons-not-to-quit-your-job-yet
https://m.economictimes.com/wealth/earn/7-right-reasons-to-leave-your-job-and-when-not-to-quit/articleshow/64803340.cms