Flexible hiring; how it can help your business succeed
The traditional ‘9 to 5’ no longer suits a modern work force. However, flexible working is not just about part time hours for mothers. Those with disabilities, carers of elderly parents and even those simply looking for a better work/life balance all want flexible working arrangements to help them meet their needs.
Since June 2014 any employee with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service has the right to make a request for flexible working for whatever reason they wish. Prior to this the right to request flexible working was only available to those with childcare responsibilities. This move recognises the ever changing workforce.
Types of Flexible Working
Flexible working can take the following forms:
– Part time hours. This is the most traditional form of flexible working. It will involve workers only working certain days of the week or certain hours of the day.
– Compressed hours. Workers will work the same number of hours but over fewer days. For example, if the contract is for 35 hours per week rather than working 7 hours per day over five days they will work 8.75 hours per day over four days.
– Job sharing. Often you will have roles that need to be undertaken on a full time basis, such as a receptionist. However, you can still have flexible working in these roles in the form of job sharing, namely two people work part time to cover all the full time hours.
– Term time hours. As the name suggests, workers will only work during school term times and will have school holidays off.
– Working from home. Again, as the name suggests, this is where a worker undertakes their role at home. This can be on a full time basis or on certain days of the week with the other days being in the office.
– Agile working. This incorporates both flexibility as to where the work is performed and also when the work is performed.
Before you even send out a job advert you should sit down and consider what your business is looking for and whether flexible working arrangements can be incorporated into the role. If you are creating a new role this will be a simple process to go through as you will already be considering job requirements. However, employers often miss an opportunity when filling established roles to re-consider and re-evaluate the needs of the business and therefore the requirements of such roles.
When you send out your job advert do you want to put a blanket ‘we will consider flexible working arrangements’ or do you want to be more specific about what arrangements can be offered. In order to attract the best talent you need to make it known from the outset that you are open to flexibility and not assume employees will ask; many do not want to rock the boat and therefore fear making such requests if they are unsure how a potential employer will react to them.
During the interview, if an employee asks about flexible working, be ready and open to discuss it. If you have already considered the job requirements this question should not be difficult to answer. Be honest too, if the flexible arrangement would not fit within the organisation explain why and discuss other possibilities for the candidate.
Make managers aware of flexible hiring and working; provide them with training so that they understand the benefits. If they are aware of such arrangements they can promote them and can help when it comes to hiring and requests from employees. Set examples by giving managers flexible working arrangements and make sure those who already have flexible working are not hindered in promotion opportunities.
Ensure your policies and procedures are up to date and available to staff.
If you need assistance or advice on how to review your current recruitment process so you can incorporate flexible hiring or you need to update your policies please do not hesitate to contact Laura Pearce on 0207 388 1658 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Pearce, Senior Solicitor
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.