Flex Work & Business Results

  • Would your managers like to offer more flexibility for their teams, but feel unsure of how to do it fairly, legally, and effectively?

    Click here to see our Flexible Work Program Strategic Initiative.

  • They are not alone – 83% of organizations do not train employees or managers in how to be successful with flex.1

Manager Training in Flex

Managers who completed a Team Alignment Plan with their teams reported these business results:

24% – Improved Customer Service

21% – Improved Productivity

53% – Improved Team Interaction

41% –Improved Understanding of Performance Goals

75% – Better Understanding of Flex

 

Training is the make-or-break element of successful flex programs

Training is the make-or-break element of successful flex programs2

Flex Beliefs

80-90% of leaders believe flex is important to:

  • Recruiting top talent
  • Retaining top talent
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee productivity

However, managers often have these concerns:

  • Employees will not be accessible to address immediate needs
  • Work will fall on others in the group
  • Customer service will suffer
  • I will not know work is getting done
  • Other employees will resent it
  • Other employees will expect it

Team Alignment Training addresses all of these manager concerns.

We use research-based Team Alignment Plan Manager Training to improve compliance, team performance, and business results.3 Our training prepares your teams to get on the same page in each of these areas:

  • Team goals
  • Metrics and outcomes for measuring success
  • Communication norms for team and clients
  • Performance norms
  • Team capacity and resiliency
  • Work process – eliminating unnecessary work
  • When and where the work gets done
  • Preparing for FMLA and ADA situations as a team
  • Team Building

WorkSmart adds a risk management component to this model by including FMLA and ADA compliance and conflict management training, making it a truly winning curriculum.

What are the Essential Steps to Building a Great Flex Culture?

Research demonstrates that there are several steps involved in creating a strong flexible work culture.4 While Team Alignment training is one important piece, the phases can generally be broken down as follows:

Phase One: Identify business drivers, assess leadership interest
Phase Two: Conduct needs and readiness assessment
Phase Three: Design the program, draft necessary policies
Phase Four: Implement the program, conduct training of managers and employees, roll out communication plan
Phase Five: Monitor and Improve the Program

Flexibility Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Take the reason out of it. Don’t ask why employees want to use it. This will avoid possible legal claims and your own biases. Men, women, young, old, folks with kids and grandkids, or no kids, may want to flex
  • Don’t assume you know what employees want or need; ask them and they will tell you
  • Avoid favoritism in granting requests – using the application form with criteria for success will help you be consistent and objective
  • Be transparent about all decisions at team level – no secret or side deals
  • Flex is job- and team-specific and need not be uniform
  • Leaders need to use flex too or no one else will

Are you ready to consider this? Factors:

  • Assuming you have some flexibility in hours and scheduling now, how successful has that been?
  • Where are managers on the trust/control continuum with their employees? If managers lack trust in their teams, they may not be ready for much flexibility
  • Are people working in teams now or is the workplace more hierarchical? Would greater team alignment better serve customer needs?
  • Are you managing for results and collaboration now? If you are considering the introduction or increase of teleworking one or more days a week, or hiring virtually, it is critical to be able to manage for results instead of face time
  • Is your technology up to date? Have you replaced desk tops with laptops, or can you phase that in?

Flex Options Differ Depending on Business Needs and Your Human Capital Management Strategy

Flexible Hours – Everyone loves having flexible work hours. This option can help employers improve customer service by increasing hours of staff availability.

Compressed Workweeks (4 10-hour days) – This option works only for some businesses and employees and is highly variable. Longer work days can enable businesses to be open longer and help employees be more productive due to lack of interruption. However, some businesses need daily coverage and, if mandated this arrangement can be a real burden for some individuals.

Teleworking – Millennials have spent their entire lives connecting with others virtually. If your firm wants to attract and retain them, teleworking and BYOD policies are a must. It is critical, however, that the human element not be lost, that managers define and remain within their comfort zone, and that the focus always be on work outcomes and client deliverables.

Contingent Worker, Part-time, Job-Sharing Strategies – Organizations that can offer these options will attract and retain the best talent and will be best prepared to absorb ADA- and FMLA- mandated absences and disruptions.

 

For a free one-hour consultation with Mary, call (303) 229-3597 or email her at mary@worksmartpartners.com

 

  1. Survey on workplace flexibility, WorldatWork, 2013.
  2. Overcoming the Implementation Gap: How 20 Leading Companies are Making Flexibility Work, Boston College, Carroll School of Management, Center for Work & Family, 2011

  3. http://workplaceflex.org/
  4. Overcoming the Implementation Gap, supra at Footnote 2.
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