by Wayne D'Antoni, CA-PHR
A key to having a successful workforce in 2022 and beyond can be summed up in one word: agility. The agile organization is able to learn how to make agility a best practice when it comes to engaging & keeping their top talent.
A recent survey by business consulting firm Robert Half found that 41% of senior managers give their employees the choice of when they want to work. Employers already have shown increased flexibility as far as “where” their people do their jobs, as the pandemic at first forced more remote work, and now, with a significant number of employees demanding this option, telecommuting has become a more accepted way of business life for many industries.
Some have seen this as a logical trend after employers started to allow their staff more flexible working hours in the not-too-distant past, to the point where nearly half of the managers who responded are actually giving the employees the upper hand in regards to setting the hours they work.
Moreover, 27% of management respondents said they do not mind if their direct reports put in fewer than 40 hours per week, as long as the job gets done. This mindset would have been unheard of just a few years ago, and one could easily assume it is still unpopular among nearly all organizational management today. But more than one in four is not only eye-opening but very telling as well.
Employers have realized the need to be agile in both their mindset and practice when it comes to acquiring, developing, and, most importantly, retaining talent in today’s workplace. Why? Because employees, and job candidates you hope will become employees, are demanding it.
Four million workers quit their jobs in April of this year. 3.9 million left their positions this past June. More than 4 million quit this past September. One recent survey has shown that 38% of American workers are actively job seeking right now. American workers want something better, and the numbers prove it.
The pandemic has significantly changed the way the American worker views their career. There are various elements about their jobs they now can demand, and if they don’t get what they want from their current employer, they have no problem finding one that will.
One interesting aspect of this new approach is that employees who have been given this newfound freedom understand that the best way to take advantage of this benefit is to ensure the job is getting done. Despite having total autonomy over their own schedules, in a similar survey of workers, 72% said they need at least 8 hours a day to get the job done. Nearly half who responded don’t completely disengage from work during business hours and feel obligated to respond to messages and requests, even during their breaks.
No doubt, this will ease managers’ concerns who would raise an eyebrow at this new concept. But for organizations that realize the foundation of any productive employer/employee relationship is trust, this practice could very well go a long way towards defining the future of how success is viewed in the employment realm.