Our client, a service organisation, employs a large number of customer support staff.
Our client introduced flexible work arrangements to stem the resignation of professional women. Despite a communication blitz, the take-up rate was very low. This puzzled our clients and we were asked to strengthen the implementation of flexible work arrangements.
Introduction of flexible work arrangements requires much more than a communications blitz. It needs to be supported by:
- clear policies on performance criteria.
- processes to assess readiness for flexible work arrangements.
- right skills and mind-set amongst managers and employees.
- visible support from top management.
What we did:
Tier 1: Determining what was hindering implementation
Designed a unique diagnostic method called Design Focus groups to capture rational and emotional concerns that were holding back implementation of flexible work arrangements
- Through the diagnostics, we identified the following key barriers:
- Employees were concerned about the criteria for performance assessment -will it be ‘face time’ or ‘deliverables’.
- Supervisors were concerned about challenges relating to work planning & organisation, supervision of remote employees and a potential drop in productivity.
Tier 2: Redesigning jobs, policies and processes
- Helped the client articulate their policy on performance.
- Designed a checklist for employees and supervisors to assess readiness and amenability to flexible work arrangements.
- Redesigned jobs and processes to operationalize flexible work arrangements while retaining focus on productivity.
Tier 3: Building skills and mind-set
- Conducted workshops for managers to:
- strengthen their skills in work organisation, planning and managing performance and
- facilitate conversations change mind-set.
- Conducted workshops for employees to help them grasp what it takes to work effectively with flexible work arrangements. This included skill building and confidence boosting.
Following our intervention, the client saw an increased uptake of flexible work arrangements amongst women employees and a reduction in turnover. More importantly, managers gained comfort with the new way of working and openly advocated flexible arrangements within their teams.