Regardless of any mission statement or list of core values, the ultimate goal for every company is to make money. Aside from having a desired product or offering, a crucial part of increasing profits is the talent within your ranks. Hiring top talent is crucial and, just like you, all your competitors are aware of this factor.
In today’s market, there are many varieties of “carrots” to dangle to get the next great one to waltz through your doors. Offer a higher salary, premium healthcare and benefits, maybe a company car. If you’re considering offering flexibility for the employees within your organization and are not sure where to start, here are some things to keep in mind.
Bigger Pool of Talent
Regardless of where you’re located in the world, requiring all workers to report to a physical office means you’re limiting your pool to those already within a commutable distance and those who are willing to relocate. You could have the latest and greatest software company located in the heart of Silicon Valley or a posh office overlooking the New York City skyline, but the fact remains that there will ultimately be those who do not share your picture of perfect. So what will work for you in terms of a remote workforce?
First, you need to set your boundaries. Will employees be required to report to the home office with any sort of frequency? If so, what does the expense look like if you open your doors to those in other countries? How will you configure your office? Commuter-style desks? Open conference rooms? The point is, you need to determine what an appropriate threshold is for your organization today. You can always adjust further as time goes on.
Many Shapes of Flex
Aside from considering remote employees, another low-hanging fruit merely is offering flexible hours. Years ago, the concept of flex-time entered the market. The world has moved beyond the traditional notion of flex-time where an employee may choose what hours they work based on a pre-determined model.
Some alternative models to consider include the following: daily flex plans where employees can vary start times, often with short or no notice; compressed work-weeks where employees can work more hours per day in exchange for less than the traditional five days per week schedule; or even a total flex schedule where employees can work both on- and off-site at hours of their choosing.
No matter how your organization decides to implement its flexibility plan, the one universal truth is that without using modern technology, you’ll fail. Does your organization have the infrastructure to maintain communication and relationships? Conference lines, instant messaging, virtual meeting rooms and the like will be crucial in keeping order as you make the shift. What security requirements will be needed? Can your current IT staff support the new model? These are some of the many details you’ll want to ensure you cover during your strategic planning.
Know the Enemy
OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but the point is that you need to take a good look at what’s happening in your particular industry. Here’s where you can differentiate yourself and draw in those five-star recruits. It would be best if you were careful, as you don’t want to give away the farm at the detriment of your bottom line. Engage your recruiters and hiring managers about what are they hearing as they sit down with potential candidates? Are these needs and wants realistic? If they are within your means, at a minimum, consider setting your policies in line with your competition.
Part of your go-forward strategy with workplace flexibility should be focused on how you will roll out the new organizational changes. Before you begin bringing in new blood, make sure you’ve communicated the new policies and have action plans in place of how to manage the inevitable shift toward flexibility. Failure in this arena could cost you some of your current talents as, with any new policy, confusion and “water cooler” chats still reign supreme.
All too often we hear that there is no loyalty in the modern workplace, from either employers or employees. One study indicated that flexibility in the workplace would increase loyalty to more than 82% of all respondents. Improving and maintaining high-quality talent can mean the difference between boom and bust for most companies. Why not be on the leading edge? As Tolstoy said, “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.” Be good.