Today’s professionals, millennials and baby boomers alike hold flexibility as the number one benefit from their employers. Why? Because professionals have realized that work-life integration is the key to their success. As technology allows for flexible job opportunities to take hold, moms now also see hope in maintaining their successful careers while being able to pick up their children from school and take them to doctor’s appointments.
As Matthew Yglesias noted in his analysis on the time it takes to fill a role, there are more job openings now than at any time since the ‘90s tech boom and the early 2000s, but those open jobs are taking longer to fill than at any other time. With open positions costing you $500 per day, you may need to start considering adopting flexible policies to attract the right candidates
Here are 5 simple ways you can start integrating flexibility to attract top talent:
Change your mindset
Don’t count in-office time as the time that really counts when evaluating an employee’s dedication. Thanks to iPhones and near everywhere WiFi, your team members can be equally effective outside of the office. In fact, the argument could be made that they are more productive. If you are nervous about gauging a person’s contribution without seeing them in person, shift everyone’s roles towards Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Goals and Objectives (G&Os). All you really care about is that your company is reaching its goals, not whether bodies are in your office walls, right?
Work-life priorities look different for every person, so the requests for flexibility may vary greatly. That being said, there are some aspects of your business and certain job roles that aren’t flexible. By ranking priorities that you feel are instrumental to your company’s success, you’ll be able to address requests with clear explanations for why you can or can’t accommodate. For example, if your customers expect support from 8am-5pm then you probably can’t accommodate a customer service member’s request to work 10am-7pm. A solution could be splitting the full-time role into two part-time roles, but you have to define what will work. If a team member asks to work remotely but they don’t have space where it’s quiet for phone calls, you can say that you will accommodate the request if they have a different workspace. List aspects of running your business where you can’t compromise but be sure to have concrete reasons for why your decision is necessary. Boulo can walk you through how to best adjust your roles to accommodate candidates seeking work-life integration without compromising your company’s success.
Set some work from home expectations
Company culture is important to the success of your business, and it’s fair to every member of the company that you hold to it. What are some things that make your employees who are working in the office together successful? Maybe you feel that face-time is integral to open communication or execution relies on timely responses. Like we mentioned above, logging into meetings from a local café can be distracting to others and make conversations difficult due to background noise. Ask your team to only log in from places free from background noise. Many companies now request that you log into meetings using video features because facial expressions are so telling of how a conversation is going. Slack is a popular tool used for quick conversations between team members. It is meant to mimic the interaction people have while working on a project next to each other in an office. Set expectations for when people should be available via slack. Once people know how to be part of the team and work from home, they’ll have no problem honoring your rules.
Honor Personal Boundaries
This might be the most important aspect for a person seeking work-life integration and well worth calling out during an interview. Integration will not work if you don’t honor the boundaries that you’ve agreed upon. Have an open conversation with your team and candidates about when they are available and when you need them to be available. For example, some people don’t mind a weekend work text while others hold that time sacred. As long as projects and tasks are completed on time, chances are there won’t be a problem honoring boundaries. Your team members will appreciate that they work for a company that knows what’s valuable to them. In fact, that’s how you get employees referring strong candidates.
When interviewing candidates, don’t settle because it might be a while until the next strong resume. Your number one concern should be whether the person is a great cultural fit. Do they have a passion for what they will be working on? Will their communication style fit in well with your team? Do they have the same values that you and your team prioritize? If the answer is yes to the above, you have a candidate that will likely perform no matter where they work. They’ll be personally driven to reach their goals, communicate well via slack or other remote tools and have high impact in person, and they’ll be another voice in the room to make sure that the team hold each other accountable to the values. When your team is aligned and passionate, accommodating flexible needs becomes simple.
Companies now know that hitting your goals and objectives is more important than how long a person is sitting in the office. From our experience, we think you’re likelier to be wowed by your team’s productivity during the hours that they are available than feel like work is slipping. Boulo clients understand the flexible needs and the efficiencies of working mothers, which is why our services are so successful for talent and companies alike.