Flexibility Can Tip the Scale for Job Candidates

HR & Safety

When two-thirds of candidates believe they don’t need to be sitting at a desk to get their work done, it’s clear that workplace flexibility has become a top priority for today’s job seekers.
In fact, nearly 40% of global candidates report that schedule flexibility is one of the top three factors they consider when making career decisions.
This is according to a new report from ManpowerGroup Solutions, Work, for Me: Understanding Candidate Preferences for Flexibility. The report includes the immediate steps and the long-term actions that companies can take to better meet their prospective employees’ preferences around flexibility.

Survey Results

ManpowerGroup Solutions asked nearly 14,000 individuals in 19 countries what matters to them in the job search process. When it comes to workplace flexibility, the survey found:

  • Flexible arrival and departure times and full-time work from home/location independence are generally the most desired types of flexible workplace policies. Twenty-six percent of global candidates say flexible arrival and departure times are most important, followed closely by the ability to work from home or any other place they choose (22%).
  • The rise in the importance of schedule flexibility is driven by a wide range of local factors. These include the presence of multinational companies or unions in that location; the influence of technology firms in the marketplace; workforce composition, such as proportion of millennials; and congestion, infrastructure or public transportation that can impact commuting times.

Employers who meet candidate expectations around schedule flexibility have the advantage in recruiting and retaining the best talent.

"Workplace flexibility doesn't just mean working remotely. It includes all types of working arrangements, from when to take breaks, working from home or caregiving leave," says Kate Donovan, senior vice president of ManpowerGroup Solutions and global RPO president.
"While no employer can accommodate every option, they can provide a range that appeal to a variety of candidates.
"It's clear that candidates across the globe seek a way to achieve 'One Life,' which means integrating work and home life. Organizations need to be ready to drop old work models that emphasize presenteeism over performance. It's time to shift the needle; employers who meet candidate expectations around schedule flexibility have the advantage in recruiting and retaining the best talent."

Employer Recommendations

Knowing how schedule flexibility is a priority for today's job seekers, ManpowerGroup Solutions shares key practical recommendations for employers in a world of flexible workplaces:

  • Take baby steps. A company does not have to force the transition from traditional to virtual workplace overnight. Shift to a 10 a.m.–7 p.m. schedule or designate a number of remote working flex days to combat long commute times.
  • Normalize existing flexibility policies. Neutralize flexibility stigma by changing company culture to make working outside the office acceptable. It starts from the top; leaders need to be transparent and lead by example.
  • Align incentives with outcomes. Replacing face-time requirements with logged hours on a virtual private network can be perceived by employees as inauthentic. Instead, set goals and deadlines; if employees meet them, managers can worry less about clocking in and out.

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