A recent report from the CIPD suggest that a significant proportion of the UK workforce have no opportunity to work flexibly and suggests there’s an uneven distribution of flexible working across the economy.
I think this means that many organisations might be missing out on an opportunity to capitalise on the talent they have, and release trapped potential. So, this week, I thought I’d use our own experiences in Glasstap to show how flexible working has enabled us to recruit and retain our uniquely talented group of people.
I asked three people to describe how flexible working has helped them, and how it’s benefited Glasstap. Here’s what they said:
Case Study 1 – Louise
"I didn’t think I would be able to get a job with my partner working full time, two young children at school and living in a small rural area with virtually no childcare facilities available. But when Rod and Craig were hiring back in 2004, I was encouraged to apply anyway, despite my limiting circumstances.
During the interview process we discussed at length my situation and when I was successful, a ‘term-time’ contract was agreed, which meant I could be at home with the children when they weren’t at school. This provided a perfect opportunity for me to re-join the working world and still be there for my children when they needed me.
When my partner was made redundant, a few years later, Rod and Craig agreed that I could switch to a full-time contract.
I’ve now been with the company for more than 14 years and I still love the job, which has changed beyond recognition in that time! So Glasstap has benefitted from a loyal and engaged team member."
Case Study 2 – Zoe
“After several summers working overseas I started working for Glasstap but after less than a year I decided that I wanted to go back to Crete to work for another summer. Thinking back, I’m not sure that there was an official company policy in place for unpaid leave, but a new set of guidelines were drawn up and it was agreed that I could take up to six months off and still return to my existing role. This meant that I could spend more time in my beloved Elounda, safe in the knowledge that I had a job to return to.
Glasstap knew they had not lost a member of staff, or retained one who’s commitment was wavering, and it meant they didn’t lose the investment in recruitment and training they’d made.
As it happened, I returned from Crete after just two months and 13 years later I’m still here, looking after our customers.”
Case Study 3 - Frances
“I work from home full time and so benefit from an informal flexible working arrangement. This means that, within reason, I can adapt my working week. This helps me personally because my son has additional needs and has regular appointments that I need to take him to. Knowing I can adapt my working hours to fit in with this is crucial.
My job requires me to have ideas or be creative, so this flexibility is wonderful if I am stuck on a piece of work; I can log off and do something else whilst I mull it over in the back of my mind. It also means that when customers, often in different time zones, get in touch with a last-minute request for help I can be there to help in a way that I couldn't if I were office based and/or restricted to working 9-5.”
What’s In It For Us?
It's not always easy, or convenient to provide flexible working arrangements, but as our own examples show, a different approach can provide a genuine opportunity for win-win, helping the organisation, and the individual. A genuine case of ‘what’s in it for us’, not 'what’s in it for me'.
About Rod Webb
Rod is co-founder and Commercial Director at Glasstap® (www.glasstap.com), the company behind Trainers' Library® (www.trainerslibrary.com) and Managers' Library (www.managerslibrary.com).
Rod has overall responsibility for the Glasstap brand and the day to day operations of the business.
Through its innovative Trainers' Library® service, Glasstap® provides trainers with easy access to its unique range of innovative, experiential learning materials, including detailed trainer's notes, handouts, participant briefs etc. The service is used by professional trainers in over 50 countries.
The recently launched Managers' LIbrary aims to help line managers become better at fulfilling their part in the leraning and development cycle providing loads of short training activities that can be used in team meetings and lots of self-development tools for the managers themselves.
Rod is the author of an extensive catalogue of experiental training materials, available through Trainers' Library®, which includes teambuilding games like Murder at Glasstap Grange and Jack Fruggle's Treasure. He now works with a team of authors who continue to develop new material for Trainers' Library and Managers' Library.
In his spare time, Rod enjoys creative writing, reading, walking, cycling and spending time with his horses and dogs. He's currently creating a new board game.