Two of the most talked about topics across the HR industry right now is employee flexibility and wellbeing. Many organisations are faced with the challenge of deciding how much flexibility to provide now coming out of the Covid pandemic and it is a topic of great debate.
CEOs and MDs are being challenged to think differently in this space and there is growing concern from large and small to medium conglomerates to continue to offer employees with enhanced working from home initiatives and supportive wellbeing strategies.
The question though is how much is too much flexibility? Employers are desperate to reconnect with their workforce and bring back face to face interaction however there tends to be challenges with employee’s willingness to return to the office given the obvious benefits to working from home arrangements. The topic of wellbeing is strongly linked to this heated topic of discussion given that working from home arrangements enable employees a perceived advantage to spend more time finding balance and focus on their physical and psychological health.
So, what do employers need to be mindful of when reviewing their current flexibility and wellbeing initiatives? For starters they need to be aware that the standard policies and procedures are just the tip of the iceberg and are regarded as non-negotiable for employees especially when considering new opportunities in the market. Employees want more than just working from home options, they want the flexibility to extend much further than that. Flexibility comes in many forms, and it starts with employers understanding the holistic aspirations of their employees. What motivates employees beyond their current role? Is there flexibility in development programs offered, do employees have the autonomy to create their own pathways for development and are employers offering versatile roles across different locations. Mobility options are a key consideration when reviewing flexibility offerings for employees. When was the last time organisations did a topdown review of talent and mapped high potentials for succession planning purposes and for critical roles to stretch and create new opportunities for employees and delve deeper to understand individual’s relocation preferences?
"Flexibility comes in many forms, and it starts with employers understanding the holistic aspirations of their employees"
Attraction and retention challenges have continued to be at the forefront of leader’s minds. To attract superstars and to retain great talent employers need to consider alternate ways to ensure support is provided to employees around mental health and physical health challenges. Embracing new partnerships with health providers making waves in this space like Sonder and Headspace who provide organisations with JIT digital easy solutions to receiving access to allied heath professionals, tools and resources to enable employees to feel brave enough to find solutions without having to take considerable time off.
We also know that particularly over the last five years reporting on turnover stats and reasons for leaving, the data shows that there is a direct link between productivity levels and general health and wellbeing of the workforce and leaders need to be at the forefront of this thinking. If we want employees to return to the workforce, we need to create a psychologically safe environment that provides a culture of care and empathy. Leaders also need to demonstrate their willingness to be vulnerable and share their own personal journeys with wellbeing. Reviewing current wellbeing strategies and incorporating progressive wellbeing initiatives will be seen as an added benefit prospective candidates will seriously consider along with allowing employees the space and time to evolve and grow holistically as a professional and personally.
In this modern era, employees want fulfilment and the mix between work and personal life has become almost one in the same. It is important businesses reflect this shift in their HR programs and incorporate ongoing initiatives to show support in this space.