Flexibility as a Motivator
Keep your employees loyal and engaged
-Tory Johnson, CEO, Women for Hire
It’s hard to find a manager who isn’t interested in the smartest ways to keep employees motivated, productive, loyal and engaged. When those best practices don’t require a steep financial investment, they’re coveted even more. Flexible work options fit the bill.
Most companies find that workplace flexibility increases employee morale and improves retention. Knowing that their companies trust them to work on their own, employees have greater confidence in themselves and stronger company loyalty.
There are many forms of flex to consider, depending on the size of your company, the nature of individual job functions and the varying needs of your staff.
Employees work full-time from home, away from the corporate office. Some may even be in another city or state. They maintain regular hours, and all of their communication is handled remotely. Travel is done as needed for work to meet with clients, coworkers and bosses. Companies save on office overhead and real estate costs.
Some employers – from retailers and grocery chains to banks and corporations – allow employees to work a compressed week. Instead of working five days for eight hours a day, for example, they’ll work four days at 10 hours each. This frees up one day each week to focus on personal and family needs or to save on child-care costs on that fifth day.
Sometimes employers allow workers to devise alternative schedules for start and stop times. A mom who wants to see her child off to school can choose a start time that’s later than her company’s standard 8:30 a.m. By delaying her start to 9:30 a.m, she can put the kids on the bus herself and save the cost of morning child care. To make up for it, she stays an hour later at the end of the day.
This benefit works well for employees who live in congested cities. Coming in an hour or two later could save time and sanity. By avoiding the rush hour – either by arriving earlier or later – employees get to work faster and avoid that dead time on the road.
Vacation by the hour
This works wonders for people paid by the hour. If they miss a shift, their pay is docked. It’s also ideal for small businesses because it’s easier for them to track than it is for larger companies. For example, when your employee must take his child to the doctor, instead of missing the entire shift, he can take off the hour or two he needs and then return to work. Vacation time works like a debit account – hours are deducted instead of days. This allows people to take care of family or personal matters without missing a day’s pay. The company benefits because it doesn’t lose out on a full day of productivity.
Another form of flexibility relates to the management style of your leaders. Some people can call in at 8 a.m. to say they are running late and the boss allows them to make up the time on their own terms. This means employees benefit from peace of mind and don’t have to fret over sick kids, emergency elder-care demands or other unexpected distractions. An understanding boss is often the most beneficial form of flexibility for many people.
None of these benefits costs a fortune to implement, and yet the rewards to your department or company can be priceless. Start by asking employees what forms of flexibility matter most to them and build a program that meets their needs by staying true to the business realities as well.
Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women for Hire. Connect with her at womenforhire.com