From education to employment

Flexible Working a Myth for Almost Two Thirds of Companies, Employment Expert Reveals

One of the leading employment experts, Croner, has released a report that reveals the extent of the problem facing employers and employees at many leading firms due to inflexibility.

Recent Government legislative initiatives have ushered in an improved regime, but it seems that more needs to be done. Croner who are part of the Wolters Kluwer UK Group, have highlighted the need for companies who are seeking a competitive edge to cater to the demands of today’s workforce, allowing them to set themselves apart from competitors in the “war for talent” by going further than merely meeting the minimum criteria laid out in law.

Flexible Working for the Future?

In the workforce of today, and – most importantly for any company that wishes to consider itself as a market leader in the economic landscape of the future ““ in the workforce of tomorrow, the demands upon an employee’s time will change. One manifestation of this can be seen in the changing demands for skills training, with a recent report from Investors in People indicating that a 19 year old today will need to change their training and skills set five times during their working lives.

As much as it is in the interests of the employee to expand their skills and therefore increase their prospects for progressing in their line of work, it is in the interests of the company to have a well trained and motivated workforce, as this serves to increase productivity and talent ““ retention. One important feature of this is the need for allowances to be made for employee’s time, such as flexible working hours that would enable them to advance their training without losing their position. It would seem that it would be in the interests of any company to go further than doing just what they must in this area.

The Recommendations

Croner’s report has a number of recommendations that it is hoped will be carried further by the parties responsible for these matters. These include the need for managers themselves to be more flexible and to lead by example in their own working lives, whilst also involving staff in these discussions to ensure that any changes suit the requirements of the employees and those of the company simultaneously.

It is suggested by the report’s recommendations that the benefits of implementing a more flexible employment practice will be both immediate and long term, with improved levels of employee retention and the possibility for the recruitment process to be enhanced by advertising the opportunity to work flexibly within the organisation. However, the report also calls for companies to behanve in a financially responsible manner, conducting cost analyses and reviewing the progress of the measures at regular intervals.

Croner Demand Improved Awareness and Action

The Employment Services Director, Richard Smith, called for an improvement across the board: “Our research highlights that managers are not doing enough to reap the potential benefits of flexible working. However, this is unlikely to be due to them being unsupportive of employees” flexibility needs, and more to do with not having enough information to hand to make a business case for flexible working beyond minimum legal compliance.”

Skills training is set to be one of the most crucial tools on the tool belt of the education and employment sectors in the coming decades as Britain seeks to maintain her position as one of the most prosperous economies. Improving the flexibility of working time and thus the work / life and work / skills balances will not provide all of the answers; it would, however, be an excellent place to start.

Jethro Marsh

Prove your mental flexibility in the FE Blog

Related Articles