Want to attract and retain talent? Offer flexibility

Younger employees are making flexible working a priority since the pandemic, according to a new survey which has found that almost two-thirds of 18-24-year-olds, and one in six 25-34-year-olds, would consider looking for a new job if their employer insisted on a full-time return to the workplace, compared with just under half of 45-54-year-olds.

Across all ages, almost three in five workers would, or have, considered looking for a new job if their employer asked them to come into the workplace every day. The study of almost 1,400 employees also found that seven in 10 workers would like more flexibility as to when they work, and around half would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work-life balance, or to guarantee flexible working hours.

The desire for flexibility was highest among younger workers, the poll revealed. But three-quarters of parents would prefer to have more flexibility around their working hours, compared to 68 per cent of workers who aren’t parents.

The pandemic “put personal wellbeing and life outside work into even clearer perspective than ever before, and intensified the desire for more amenable working conditions, including greater flexibility, remote working options or better organisational culture,” the report highlighted.

Alongside flexibility, workers were also prioritising business ethics; three-quarters would consider looking for a new job if they found out their employer had an unfair gender pay gap or no diversity and inclusion policy.

It seems that employers that insist upon workers going back into the office will take a “significant risk” in terms of being able to retain current talent and attract new talent in the future. Businesses are being encouraged to think beyond location and look at flexible working in order to attract and retain the best talent.

Employees now regard commuting to be a discretionary cost and it is a significant aspect of the decision to take or remain in a particular role.  For those businesses which have decided to return to office working, it is vitally important to communicate the reasons. If an employer wants people in the office to collaborate, they need to make the workplace attractive and conducive to collaboration. Including flexible working options up front in job ads suggests that a future-focused company and therefore attract more applicants.  However, this approach also requires line managers to have the capability to effectively design jobs and the manage flexible teams effectively.

121 HR Solutions can assist employers with flexible working options and the necessary contract changes. Contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk

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