What? You Want Me to be Flexible? 5 Tips for Flexible Work

by Mar 9, 2022

Written by: Kathy Grey on 3.9.22

This subject keeps coming up – how to retain talent. In my last blog post, I wrote about the importance of creating a work environment where your employees feel respected, or they may become part of the Great Resignation train. 

Up from 68% in July 2021 to 82% in January/February 2021, HR executives are even more concerned about the exodus of talent in their organizations, according to a survey conducted by the outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

You’ve already taken steps to flexible work since the start of COVID. Remote and hybrid work became the norm – but this flexibility may actually be contributing to disengagement of your workforce. 

In an effort to remain connected, some leaders overschedule meetings, leading to zoom fatigue. Others are more hands-off, which may lead to workers feeling ignored.

And then there’s the conundrum of offering hybrid work and it leading to resignation. What? Yes! Employees find it nearly twice as emotionally exhausting as fully remote work according to a 2021 TinyPulse survey, even though more than half the workers in a January PwC survey said they wanted it. 

Management needs to make an extra effort to connect, not as employees, but as people. Being flexible is an incredibly powerful and strategic business tool. 

So how do you maintain flexibility and keep your people? Here’s a few tips:

 

  • Check in with your employees in person or remotely – and do so with intention. Do so regularly. It can be as simple as personal note on a sticky or in an email. It doesn’t have to be about work, it could be an acknowledgment of a significant personal milestone. Check out the tips we shared just last week for showing your employees some appreciation.

 

  • Reconfigure your teams to smaller sizes. This will empower them to make decisions and make it easier to coordinate work. 

 

  • Offer an adjustment of hours. Perhaps people can work earlier, later, or take a day off mid-week. Show that you trust your employees and they will perform better. It will help your workers achieve greater work-life integration, as we also talked about recently.

 

  • Establish a flex culture and embed it as part of your management strategy. Brand your organization as a provider of flexible work solutions. Talent will search out and find you.

 

  • Hold yourself and your managers accountable to the effectiveness of flex arrangements and how they are implemented. Make discussions about flexibility and how it’s working a part of your ongoing one-on-ones and performance management systems. Keep the dialogue open and remain open to feedback.

 

If you’d like more tips on how to provide flexible work options, check out our LinkedIn Learning course here.

What are YOU doing to retain the workers you invested in? Do you know what they need? Do you know what they want? Ask them! We can help. We will run a climate assessment, analyze your workforce’s responses, and strategically plan with you the steps needed to build employee engagement, job satisfaction, trust in leadership, and a better workplace culture. 

Sincerely,

Kathy Grey & the Civility Partners Team

 

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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