The Value of Creating Workplace Flexibility

April 25th, 2011

Do you offer flexible work options to your employees?  Does it really matter?  Take a look at what two recent studies showed about the prevalence and importance of workplace flexibility.

The first, a recent Survey on Workplace Flexibility from WorldatWork, found that:

  • The vast majority (98 percent) of U.S. employers offer at least one workplace flexibility program.
  • The most prevalent programs include flex-time (flexible start/stop times), part-time schedules and teleworking on an ad hoc basis (to meet a repair person, care for a sick child, etc.).
  • The way these programs are administered varies.  Nearly 60 percent of these companies take an informal approach to the concept  – leaving program development and administration up to managers’ discretion, or offering flexible work options without written policies or forms.
  • Furthermore, most U.S. organizations (79 percent) that offer flexibility programs do not provide training to the managers of employees using these programs.

This study also found that:

  • A stronger culture of flexibility correlates with a lower voluntary turnover rate.
  • A majority of employers report that workplace flexibility positively impacts employee satisfaction, motivation and engagement.

The second report, Workplace Flexibility and Low-Wage Employees, was released in February 2011.  This report analyzed data from the nonprofit Families and Work Institute’s National Study of the Changing Workforce.  For the purposes of this study, low-wage employees were defined as those earning less than $12.82 per hour (which accounts for a little more than one-third of the U.S. workforce).  Here are some of the key findings:

  • Workplace flexibility correlates positively with:  overall job satisfaction, degree of engagement, degree to which home life interferes with job performance, physical health, mental health and likelihood of remaining with current employer.  The prevalence of each of these outcomes is higher (regardless of income) when employers offer more workplace flexibility.
  • Regardless of wages earned, workers are equally pressed for time in their personal lives – and place equal value on having a flexible workplace.
  • Low-wage employees are just as likely to have responsibilities for children and elders.  But because they have fewer financial resources to meet these responsibilities, having job flexibility may be even more important.

What can we learn from these studies?

  • Workplace flexibility produces a host of benefits, including increased employee engagement, satisfaction, motivation, retention and productivity.
  • A comprehensive workplace flexibility program can be an effective recruiting and retention tool, providing a real source of competitive advantage for your company.  Offering flexibility options that matter to employees, and featuring those options when recruiting talent, can help you distinguish your company as an employer-of-choice.
  • When it comes to workplace flexibility, it’s not about the quantity or formality of the programs you offer.  It’s about how well supported and implemented those programs are across your organization.  To be successful, managers must understand the real value these programs bring and be properly trained to administer them.
  • Workplace flexibility is here to stay.  As organizations continue to evolve, workplace flexibility will eventually become the new normal – an accepted and expected part of how all organizations operate.

In March, 2011, ABR Employment Services conducted a survey of our supplemental staffing workforce.  When we asked respondents to rank the importance of the benefits they receive, nearly half (48.7 percent) of supplemental staff stated that a flexible work schedule was important to them.  We understand the important role workplace flexibility plays in your organization, and can provide on-time (temporary) and supplemental staff to increase flexibility for your employees.

What can ABR Employment do for you?  Contact us today.

Five Things You Can Do to Take Charge of Your Job Search

April 18th, 2011

Like most things in life, you’ll get out of your job search what you put into it.  Those who work harder, have a positive attitude, persevere and go the extra mile are more likely to get what they want – period.

If you have the commitment to work hard, but need direction for your efforts, here are five things you can do to take charge of your job search today:

1.  Clarify your self-knowledge and your goals. Do you know exactly what you have to offer an employer?  Do you know exactly what you are looking for in a career?  Take the time to write down your specific skills, strengths, accomplishments and career goals.  If you know what you want, and what you bring to the table, it’s infinitely easier to focus your efforts, identify potential employers and find the job you want.

2.  Establish your network. Identify individuals in companies, industry organizations and professional associations who can provide insight into their employment needs.  When possible, schedule informational interviews to learn more about potential careers, as well as skills you may need to acquire to make yourself more employable.  Identify faculty, friends, business associates and relatives who can assist you with your job search.  Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job and ask them to refer you to potential employers.

3.  Get more organized. Place all of your job search materials, including: research on potential employers; listings of job postings to which you’ve responded; resume versions and cover letters; staffing services with whom you’ve registered; network lists, etc.  Use this binder to track your progress, plan follow-up, develop daily to-do lists or record other important information.

4.  Find a mentor. If you don’t have a trusted advisor who can help guide your job search efforts, you should get one.  To select a mentor, choose someone you know who:  has earned your respect; is successful in his or her career; will provide honest and effective feedback; will take an interest in your professional development; will support you in your career progression.  Meet with this person regularly to solicit advice, share your ups and downs, and get the feedback and support you need to keep going.

5.  Register with ABR Employment Services. As a leading Wisconsin staffing and placement service, we connect thousands of individuals with rewarding employment each year.  Launched in March 2011, our new ABR JobConnect™ is a career resource to help guide and support you in your job search.  It empowers you to:

  • Access over 1,000 Job Boards on one site
  • Prepare a resume or receive a resume critique
  • Utilize the career advisor
  • Participate in weekly webinars covering job seeker “hot topics” and receive job search advice
  • Take advantage of job assessment tools
  • Receive information on continuing education opportunities

Best of all, it’s FREE!  Register today for access to additional career information on this topic.