5 Practises that build a better workforce

Flex for Success: 5 Practices That Build a Flexible Workforce

This report released from CEW in partnership with Bain & Company and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) – highlights how business leaders have a unique opportunity to permanently embed flexibility to fully realise its benefits.

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“Flexible work supports diversity and inclusion, particularly gender equality and gender balance, which we know results in better business profitability. COVID-19 has radically accelerated the acceptability of flexible and remote work, resulting in more leaders and employees embracing the benefits of working flexibly than ever before,” said Sue Morphet, President, Chief Executive Women.

“This report shows that while progress to date has been significant, leaders need to take action now to ensure benefits continue to outweigh any perceived challenges in the longer term. Companies must ensure that senior management personally embrace flexible and remote working, so that it is normalised throughout employee ranks, regardless of seniority or gender.”

The report highlights case studies showing how corporate Australia is implementing and learning about flexibility for employees to drive business results.

A key feature of the report is a diagnostic tool to help businesses assess their current flexible working arrangements to ensure it remains central to their long-term strategy.

Flex for Success outlines 5 effective ways companies across corporate Australia have built a flexible workforce before and during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Ensure flexibility is flexible – allow employees to drive what flexible working options they want (for example, empowering them to switch shifts without formal management approval) and understand that flexibility means different things for different people.
  2. Link flexibility to strategy and the customer – use flexibility to empower teams to identify their own ways to achieve their organisation’s strategic goals.
  3. Model flexibility – set a cultural example with senior leaders as role models and eliminate the emphasis on flexibility only applying to women as traditional primary caregivers.
  4. Encourage and enable team flexibility – encourage teams to create their own standards (such as avoiding in-person meetings on days or times that are popular for working from home) and seek regular feedback to establish what’s working and what needs to change.
  5. Support individuals to work flexibly – invest in training to help leaders get the best out of teams that have some or all members working flexibly; understand that working remotely, for example, doesn’t suit all employee; and increase resources to build employee resilience.

The Flex for Success report highlights one of the biggest shifts stemming from the changing attitudes of the most senior ranks of leadership teams towards flexibility. Download report