Workplace flexibility is believed to be one of the major factors in employee engagement. However, the term itself might seem vague to some.
Does workplace flexibility simply refer to the amenable nature of managers when it comes down to leave applications, remote work, and incentives?
There is much more at stake, which affects how employees perceive their job positions as a whole.
Treat Employees as Individuals
Employees are more likely to be satisfied with work arrangements if they feel that their job is an extension of their lifestyle.
Employers can achieve this by helping workers to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives. This includes accommodating to the personal needs of staff, such as parental duties, and efforts towards self-growth and development.
Employers must also tap on understanding the unique strengths and limitations of individuals for optimal employee engagement.
A research headed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), titled The Experience of Work: The Role of Technology in Productivity and Engagement, has uncovered other factors that comprise employees’ needs.
These include the ease of access to information that gets work done and consumer-like user experience. The latter has remained highly popular in recent times as modern businesses tailor personalised experiences to provide the best results.
Employers can create greater workplace flexibility by first establishing the profile of employees. The process is similar to how businesses assess consumers’ needs according to trends and recorded preferences.
Workplace flexibility also should mean that employees are offered the chance to utilise their creativity in fulfilling workplace tasks. This is exemplified by online retailer, Zappos, which runs by a novel management structure known as Holacracy. Through this system, employees are divided into small manageable teams while management staff abolish their conventional titles in favour of practical roles.
These roles are practically named and are not intended for hierarchical purposes (as is the case for top-down management). For example, in Holacracy, managers are referred to as lead links. They are termed as such due to their connection with multiple employees within the workplace.
Holocracy Staff are divided into circles and encouraged to approach challenges at their own latitude. As a means of equal representation, members of circles appoint Rep Links, who represent them at governance meetings.
Unlike typical managers, lead links do not oversee the workflow of employees. Instead, these individuals offer information, guidance, and assistance to help employees achieve their goals. This is comparable to a mentor system in organisations.
Workplace Flexibility in the New Normal
The “new normal” warrants a more remote-based workforce that prioritises trust. Employers might need to rethink management strategies in keeping their staff motivated and focused.
Employee engagement is highly dependent on management style. Additionally, greater employee freedom could lead to a more fulfilled workforce that exhibits improved performance and loyalty.
As evidently observed during quarantine season, workplace flexibility is set to become a mainstay requirement for most organisations. Modern organisational leaders should consider assessing employees’ needs through a similar lens as those of consumer analytics. This could help fine-tune and maintain employee engagement by checking against specific needs.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life.