Talent Trends: Flexibility

LinkedIn have published their Global Talent Trends for 2019. The report surveyed thousands of talent professionals around the world to highlight 4 trends that are key to transforming the workplace:

1. Soft skills

2. Work flexibility

3. Anti-harassment

4. Pay transparency

Monday to Thursday this week, we’ll cover off a key trend. Today, we’re looking at work flexibility.

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Technology’s allowing work to wriggle free from the 9 to 5 leash. It’s common to shoot off a couple of quick emails from the dinner table. Or call a colleague in a different timezone on the commute.

Employees are asking for this to be balanced with a bit of flexibility. 

The percentage of people prioritising flexible working arrangements has shot up in recent years: from 28% in 2016 to 31% in 2017.

I’m not sure how long we’re going to entertain the notion that flexible working isn’t beneficial for everyone. 

Work-life balance increases, as does retention, as does productivity. Candidates are more drawn to working for brands that offer it and talent pools grow to better accommodate remote workers and new parents.

The biggest issues are that it’s difficult to keep an eye on staff. And that company culture changes.

But what if flexibility was a cultural value to aspire to? Hunted partners that do it usually trial it first and find the increased enthusiasm, loyalty and productivity outweigh the benefits of everyone being in the same building at the same time.

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Whether you’re consulting your clients on what they need to run a successful trial, or you’re in a position to broach the subject with your employer yourself. For business leaders and teams looking to try flexible working, here’s how to make it work:

Find out what kind of flexibility the team wants

Flexible working means different things to different people. It could mean you do away with “core” hours, allow top performers the odd day from home or go fully remote. Finding out what your team wants will guide the actions you take next.

Source the right tech 

Recruiters don’t need much more than a computer, a phone and a reliable internet connection to do their job. So how much tech you need to invest in will likely depend on how remote you intend to be. This list of tech hacks is useful whether you’re in the office a lot or a little.

Keep remote workers engaged

This is a matter of employee wellbeing as much as a productivity issue. Not being in the office from time to time means adapting how you stay in contact with colleagues. Some companies use video conferencing. Switching from email to instant messaging works just as well.

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Incorporate flexible working into your training

Your L&D programme may need a rethink. Not just the content but how it’s delivered. If you’re going remote, which eLearning platform are you going to use? And if it’s your first time doing it, would management benefit from workshops on how to motivate remote teams?

Market the living daylights out of it

Everyone will absolutely love that you do flexible working. Make a concerted effort to broadcast this in job ads, online, and in emails and you’ll see candidates that weren’t applying before starting to do so.

Be prepared to update your policy constantly

Technology’s one factor influencing the flexible working discussion. And it’s evolving all the time. The ongoing needs of your team will change over time as well. So it’s important to communicate regularly about any changes and to audit in real time when things aren’t working.

That’s how to make the policy happen. If you just need to ask the question, we’ve got you. Read How To Work From Home, When Your Boss Won’t Let You for everything you need to know on how to make a success of it.

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Advertising flexibility

If you’re working on roles that offer flexibility, you can afford to elaborate on this in your advertising.

Candidates see the phrase “flexible working” on plenty of ads now. Which means it’s in danger of losing its meaning. 

Their current company probably has it written on all theirs. Where flexibility’s experienced by contorting onto a packed train and bending over backwards to make it to their desk on time.

So whether it’s start and finish times that aren’t set in stone, extended excursions to the gym at lunch, or working from the kitchen table once a week, if your jobs offer flexible working – spell it out and broadcast it.

People love perks they haven’t got yet. And particularly if you work the same roles as your competitors, you’ll find your ads stand out if they focus on benefits like this in more detail. 

Speaking of detail, I can’t really go into too much but one day very soon we’re going to announce some cool new ways to filter brands that offer flexible working on Hunted. In the meantime, you can always just search for ‘flexible working’ and see which names come up…

This article’s part of a series based on LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends for 2019Click here to read part one, on soft skills in recruitment. Keep an eye on the Hunted blog for the next article, on anti-harassment. And follow us on LinkedIn to have it appear in your feed first thing tomorrow morning.