Ask any HR Director what is raising their blood pressure and the same items crop up time and again. Employee engagement, recruitment competition, talent pool shortage, diversity, gender pay gap, digital transformation, absenteeism management- all issues perpetually on the pain list of an HR Director. Smart HR Directors however are increasingly deploying a secret weapon to steal a march on the competition and ease their pain in one fell swoop! That secret weapon is designing roles with flexible working built in; when it comes to the future shape of the workplace, all roads lead to this. Whether part-time, remote working, staggered hours or any other option in the wide range of alternatives to traditional office 9-5 Monday to Friday pattern, all have the same result - improved profitability, productivity, employee engagement, talent attraction and talent retention. This is not simply anecdotal, study after study has found the same effect. Just consider some of the killer stats from organisations such as McKinsey, Deloitte, PWC, Stanford University and more. And with gender diversity and the gender pay gap high on the boardroom agenda, it is a critical option that employers must embrace to address this. Women are far more likely to want to work part-time at all levels and with companies that lead the way on gender diversity at a senior level amongst the top performers when it comes to profitability, it makes sound business sense. The obstacle most often encountered by an HR Director looking to unleash this secret weapon in a business is resistance from others that don’t understand the incredibly compelling business case. Even the government is weighing in, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, commented on one such recent study: “More women on executive committees boosts profitability. Businesses that don’t understand the need to appoint more senior executive women are failing to meet their full potential. I ask them to wake up to reality, in their own interests and the country’s interests." So, whether you’re an HR Director looking to attract and retain the best talent, increase productivity within your business, or simply expand the talent pool in which you can fish, build your business case. To help you do this we have created a step-by-step practical guide to build the bespoke business case for flexible working for your company and to bring that blood pressure down.
Finance Director Emilie Crick found her last two roles on 2to3days. She explains that being proactive and keeping an eye on the market means mothers can work flexibly and progress their careers. In 2014, when she wanted to return from maternity leave to her job within corporate credit at one of the big banks in the city, Emilie Crick ran into problems familiar to many mothers. Restructuring had taken place during her absence which meant that the role she was returning to was not the same. The new role covered a different sector in which she had limited experience as well as having a considerably smaller team to manage. “I was going from being a director heading up a team to not really having any managerial responsibilities,” she says. There was more. While the bank said they could be flexible and offer part-time working, there were stipulations. She would have to do all her three and a half days in the office – commuting even on the half day – and she’d be expected to be available for meetings/ ad-hoc work that arose on her non-working days which had to be a Thursday or Friday. Faced with a situation that was de-motivating and difficult to juggle without significant child-care costs, Emilie opted not to return. Her son had been premature – born at 30 weeks, she felt he still needed her – and her husband often travelled for work. Such inflexible flexibility wasn’t going to cut it. At the time she wasn’t too worried. “I was happy to stay home and focus on my son. But by the time he was 15 months he didn’t need me as much. He wanted to explore and I was just the servant!” She missed work and wondered if this was the right time to fulfil her ambition to move into the small business sector, away from investment-grade corporate banking. “I started looking for part-time roles but there wasn’t much out there,” she says. “I didn’t know where to start and recruitment consultants just focused on what I had been doing. They couldn’t see how my skills were transferable.” When she became pregnant with her second son, Emilie gave up looking for a role. “I’d interviewed for something but I was stabbing in the dark and then I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want to say to a new employer that I would need to go on maternity leave so soon.” She abandoned the search until her second son was 13 months old. This time, things were very different. “There was so much more out there – I couldn’t believe the difference in two years. A friend told me about 2to3days. I redid my CV and uploaded my details to the site.” Another friend then forwarded her a 2to3days role in Clapham, near her home. It was an office manager position, 15 hours a week. She applied and did some freelance work for the firm, and only a week later a finance role at local salad dressing business Lucy’s Dressings came up on 2to3days. “I’m a big foodie and it was a 10-minute cycle from my house,” she says. “I could make the move from corporate banking to management accounting and learn on the job in a flexible environment.” The role was the challenge I was looking for. “When I joined I was thrown into the deep end and was involved in the forecasting and crowdfunding process” In a small firm she found she could also gain experience in PR, marketing, operations, HR and commercial strategy. Emilie had no plans to leave Lucy’s Dressings, but two years later a Finance Director position with Brixton-based Volcano Coffee Works appeared on a 2to3days email. It seemed the perfect next step. “I was keen to broaden my experience and make the jump to Finance Director,” she says. She found the 2to3days network invaluable in getting to know businesses in her area that were open to flexible working. “It’s a step up,” she says of the new position. “I should be able to gain a huge amount of experience as well as use my accountancy qualification and previous banking experience to its full potential”. “I’ve recommended 2to3days to so many people. You do have to be proactive and make it happen. If I had unsubscribed from the email I would have missed the opportunity. It’s such a helpful summary of the jobs in your area at all levels. There’s something for everyone.” Register now to find your perfect role!
With the gender pay gap at the forefront of business priorities, understanding how to attract more women to apply for roles is key. Recent research by Glassdoor, the worldwide job and recruiting site, states that employers need to consider how audiences may differ in how they research jobs and what is important to them. If companies wish to attract more women, these key factors should be considered as the research showed that women rated them more highly than men: Work-from-home option 49% Transparency on pay & benefits 48% Potential to grow within the company 44% The online survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor in May 2018, found these factors were more important than a great company culture (35%), whether the company’s financial performance is good (26%), or familiarity with the brand (23%). “Job seekers crave transparency on pay, not only to make an initial judgement about whether to consider applying for a job, but also to assess if an employer holds long term potential for them,” said Julie Coucoules, Glassdoor’s Global Head of Talent Acquisition. “Quality candidates are typically well-researched and those that go beyond job ads and look for a richer set of background data that includes benefits and employee reviews, among other specific traits about an employer. This means that employers should make information available to job candidates proactively, or they risk missing out on quality candidates applying.” Companies providing as much detail as possible about the role, and the benefits on offer – including salary and whether homeworking is an option – will attract the best candidates and tackle their female talent pipeline. Place an advert with us today and attract great women to join your team and redress your gender pay gap. View more details on this study here.
Nationwide's six Contact Centres throughout the UK are all slightly different in their culture, atmosphere and the type of work they do. But they have much in common too. We’re dedicated to creating contact centre environments where every employee feels part of the unique society that Nationwide is building. Where they feel valued, recognised and rewarded in equal measures. How do we achieve this? By being as supportive, helpful and considerate towards our employees as we are towards our members. Our Social purpose isn’t just a tag line As a building society and not a bank, we’ve always done things differently. We’re owned by and run for the benefit of our members, not shareholders, and have a duty to act in their best interests. We also passionately belief in flexible working being a prerequisite, not a special request. Although Nationwide is now a very large business, our primary purpose is still a social – not commercial - one. Just as was our purpose over 170 years, to help to co-operate and collaborate to improve the lives of ‘the industrious classes’, this still binds our interests with those of society more generally today. This purpose is epitomised by our people within our contact centres. Such as Yasmine, who works in our Northampton centre: “ Not only do we look after each other, but we look after our members so much as well; we always put them at the heart of everything we do.” Contact centres which are anything but stereotypes This belief in supporting our talented people is so important at Nationwide. We know that working in a contact centre can sometimes be challenging. You have to be resilient and you have to be customer-focused. But we’ll always make sure that you’ve got the support of the team, encouraging managers and plenty of opportunities to breakout and recharge your batteries. It’s all about finding the right balance. This support is provided by people like Mike, one of our trainers: “Agents get time off the phone for coaching and development. If there's anything we can do in that coaching session that's going to help that agent, let’s say, improve on a particular targeted area, then we also give them the necessary tools, the necessary guidance as well to help them improve in that particular area.” A future of opportunities We’re building our ‘society’ with a sense of community and the collective belief that we’re here to help and can make a difference. You’ll have the support to achieve your career goals, work in an environment where you can have a voice, and have access to lifestyle rewards that really are worthwhile. Help us build on our values and we’ll help you build an amazing career. We have flexible and part-time opportunities in [Bournemouth, Dunfermline, Northampton, Sheffield, Swindon and Wakefield]. View our current 2to3days job post, and to explore our contact centres and the opportunities further, click here.
The world of work is changing. Driven by technology, connectivity, new social models and more, work-life integration is the holy grail and the restrictions of the traditional 9-5 are no longer acceptable for many. Download our comprehensive guide to the key business drivers for flexible working to create a bespoke business case for your business.
It has been suggested that two key occurrences in the last year will have a big impact on workplace gender equality. James Davies, a managing partner on employment matters at Lewis Silkin LLP, London believes that the launch of the #MeToo movement in combination with the obligation on UK employers of more than 250 people to report gender pay gaps will catalyse real change. Gender Pay Gap With respect to the gender pay gap reporting, Davies states “This has forced employers to look at how best they can meaningfully respond to the pay gaps that most of them face” “The reasons for the gap are likely to be complex and many. Some will be societal and require political fixes. In the UK, the introduction of shared parental leave has done little to change the reality that primary childcare responsibilities still fall disproportionately on women.” The fact remains that although there has been legislation on a range of issues, change has not happened at any pace with Cranfield University reporting that only 10% of Executive Directors are women. There are steps that can be taken to address this, including training managers to identify unconscious bias; supporting flexible working arrangements; identifying and supporting senior female role models; working within sectors to increase the talent pool of women in under-represented roles; and ensuring pay and promotion decisions are transparent, consistent and reasoned. Reputational Issues Gender pay equality has been propelled to top-priority status in British boardrooms to an extent that is rare for employment law reforms, Davies states. Whilst equal pay and discrimination claims are possible, these are relatively few not least because of the personal and financial costs to the claimant. The issue driving change, as Davies sees it, is the reputational damage from being seen not to take gender workplace issues seriously. It can be more immediate, less controllable and far costlier than a legal claim. Social Media The ability for individuals to communicate globally through social media is a further change profoundly affecting employer attitudes. The case of Nicola Thorp in 2016 is one Davies uses. She was sent home from her receptionist job for not wearing sufficiently high heels attracting a high level of public attention after she posted this on Facebook. It eventually led to the UK Women and Equalities Commission publishing a report on high heels and workplace dress codes. Social media also comes into play when considering the #MeToo movement which likely could not have been so widespread without access to the public via social media channels. Responding to #MeToo Employers must confront the reality that traditional grievance processes have failed to give many women a voice to report workplace harassment says Davies. “Clearly, a very significant number of women of varying ages, and across all sectors, have been the victim of such unreported behaviour at work. “ “For employers, the challenge is to do all they can to provide a working environment in which the risks of harassment and discrimination are reduced as far as possible… Employers should act proactively to develop new pathways for employees to raise concerns internally, rather than on social media platforms” Summary In summary, Davies says “This year marks the 100th anniversary of women first being given the right to vote in the UK. The past few months have forced many to accept that, despite evident progress, we are not as far along the road to equality at work as we might have thought. Although the law has been (and will continue to be) an effective driver of sustained social change, the recent media scrutiny of workplace gender equality has held up a mirror to many employers’ complacency. That might be enough to make 2018 a tipping point. “ Read the full article Workplace Gender Equality- Will 2018 be a Tipping Point?in Who’s Who Legal.
The Happiness Index has revealed that women’s unhappiness with their lack of career opportunities is an issue as significant as the gender pay gap. Tony Latter, CEO, writing in Personnel Today, explained that their recent survey showed that regardless of sector and company size, women do not feel as valued as their male colleagues. “When we discuss females feeling less valued, we aren’t solely talking about pay. It’s part of a wider picture of women feeling unhappier than men at work. This suggests the concerns of female workers are not being addressed, in much the same way as pay levels have been overlooked for too long.” From the study, it was clear “Career development opportunities” were a serious issue. Women across all levels of seniority rated their career development opportunities as only 5.8 out of 10. These findings were replicated in another study by The Happiness Index looking at what factors affected the loyalty and likelihood that workers would promote the business they worked for. As with the study into workplace happiness, that men scored higher than women, meaning they were more engaged and satisfied at work. Men emphasised a need for higher wages and more opportunities for career development, while women focused on the need for increased appreciation, communication and respect. Both men and women highlighted a need to feel valued. “These attitudes are at the heart of the issue of unhappiness among women in today’s workplace. Our research showed that feeling valued was directly correlated to career progression,” said Latter. Latter explains why happiness is key to business performance: ‘Happiness is a catalyst for higher performance, enhanced creativity and productivity – all of which are vital attributes that employers will look for in deciding who should advance and fill higher-profile roles in the business.’ Giving access to development training and opportunities is one of the quickest ways for companies to improve the happiness of female employees at work, says Latter. “To be successful and create the right culture, businesses need to introduce initiatives to cultivate happiness across as much of the workforce as possible. But our evidence shows there is still a lot of work to do to reap the benefits of a happier female workforce and putting more thought into career opportunities is a good place to start.”
At 2to3days we see hiring flexibly as a no-brainer. Technology has made it possible to work anywhere at any time so employers are free to design roles that truly work for their business and their people. And we have launched our essential Guide to Flexible Working to help you make it work for your business. It’s 100 years since car manufacturer Henry Ford introduced the 40-hour working week. Despite Ford’s working week being created for another era, many employers still subscribe to the notion that this is the only way to operate. Employers need to analyse what works for today’s workforce. Even the idea of work-life balance doesn’t fit – the phrase has been around since the 1970s, a hangover from a time when work and life had to be separate. Now technology allows us to blend the two and attempts to separate them are artificial. Work is part of life. Talented candidates want to integrate the two. Work is an activity rather than a place. We no longer have to be in an office. Instead of measuring success by the time spent at work, savvy employers measure by output. The idea that flexibility should be a perk offered only to a chosen few is outdated. Expectations about work are changing and employers are racing to keep up. The biggest group in the workforce are now millennials, who are driven by a different set of values. According to KPMG’s 2017 report Meet the Millennials, millennials (or Generation Y) see flexibility as normal. “Generation X hoped for work-life balance, Generation Y simply demand it,” says the report. “If it’s possible for one, it’s possible for all and with so much happening outside of their working lives it’s expected as a norm on any job specification.” At 2to3days we focus on matching talented mothers with open-minded employers. Many women want to work - they enjoy their careers and want to have their own independence. Some mothers choose to work to pay for luxuries and some because they need to meet day to day living costs, which hit a near six-year high in November 2017. Meanwhile, men increasingly want to be actively involved in raising their children. Government is catching up with social change: the introduction of shared parental leave and legislation around the gender pay gap are two recent examples. Companies that hold onto the notion that jobs should be nine to five, five days a week, will lose the best talent to those who understand the world has changed. The future is now when it comes to flexible working. Employers need talented, motivated employees who are happy and healthy. Those that understand this and offer true flexibility will excel. Too many employers pay lip service to flexibility – scratch beneath the surface and their employees are disillusioned and exhausted. Instead of pressing the default button on full-time, it’s time to take a more sophisticated approach to job design. We urge employers to stop and work out how much time a job needs in terms of days or hours each week. Is it better to create two flexible jobs instead of one? There are as many ways to work flexibly as there are people. The term ‘part-time’ encompasses a very wide range of working patterns. At 2to3days we find the roles closer to full-time hours receive fewer applications. Usually, someone looking for a part-time schedule is likely to require at least a full day off a week. Squashing a full-time role into three or four days is not the answer. Use the list below to create a job advert that will instantly appeal to our mothers. Referring to school hours, term-time working or offering August off shows immediately that you understand the challenges mothers face. Help them see their career future with you. Shorter days: offering school hours working or flexibility in start or finish time can make all the difference. Compressed hours: working full-time hours but across fewer days. Term time only: some roles can be flexed to give our mothers the school holidays off. This is highly valued by candidates. Fixed hours each week: allowing a mother to spread a set number of hours (for example 20 hours) anytime across the week means they can manage their life and their career effectively. Job share: when you genuinely need a role to be done full-time then think about taking on a job share. Effective job shares offer two sets of skills for one role, require less management support (as they support each other) and present opportunities for holiday and sickness cover. The two mothers job sharing will be highly committed to making it work. Project work: the freelance model allows self-employed contractors to work with multiple clients, fulfilling specific needs over the short or long term. You get the benefit of keeping your costs under control but getting great quality of work and the mothers get to control their working hours. Matching business cycle peaks and troughs: most businesses have busy times of year and seasonal troughs. Those peak times can suit team members perfectly. For example, accountants may find October to April requires more ‘hands on deck’ than in August. Nine-day fortnight: an almost full-time contract that gives mothers space around the edges. Staggered hours: it can work for some employees to stagger their hours – starting and finishing early or coming in later and staying longer. This can even extend your hours of operation. Annualised hours: the employee works a certain number of hours over the year but has some flexibility about when they work. There can be ‘core hours’ which the employee regularly works each week, and they work the rest of their hours flexibly or when there is extra demand. Working from home: how much time is wasted commuting? Is it strictly necessary for them to come to the office each day? Commuting can be exhausting and productivity-sapping. Consider what level of home-working a role can support. Resizing a full-time job: break down a full-time job into two part-time roles The vast choice means most roles can encompass some flexibility (or a combination of options). The huge number of talented candidates using 2to3days to advance their careers demonstrates the demand. Stop and think what your business really needs and don’t just default to full-time. Think it through, plan accordingly and the business and employee performance will benefit. Get your copy of our essential Guide to Flexible Working and make it work for your business.