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There are lots of good reasons to consider a more agile and flexible workforce making sure you attract the best talent to your team. There is the female brain drain community, experienced professionals looking to get back in who can add huge value to your business. Or the millennial workforce. Surveys suggest that these younger workers aren’t motivated by the same factors as previous generations, such as a job for life, but instead value a good work life balance and a sense of purpose beyond financial success.

We specialise in flexible recruitment and are always blown away by the talent that is available, but a considered approach is advisable. Here we share our tips on recruiting a flexible worker.

Top Ten Tips to Successful Flexible Job Design and People Selection

1. Develop an accurate job description

This is something that’s often neglected by employers but with flexible working it is as important as a full-time role. It helps you to identify which elements of the job might affect the number of days, hours and format of the flexible pattern. For example, day to day operational pressures may require daily presence and the monthly deadlines offers more flexibility for most of the month but time pressures at month-end.

2. Define the flexible format

What flexible working format would suit the job best? There are a variety of formats that offers flexibility to the employee and reduces costs to the employer. From the classic ‘part-time week’ to reduced daily hours (that works with most types of job) or a nine-day fortnight, there is a choice of formats that will suit
your requirements.

3. Estimate the volume of work

If the job existed before but the scope or workload has reduced you may be able to estimate how many hours a week or month is needed for the flexible role. If you’re unsure, discuss it with the candidates during the interviews. Many people have some flexibility on the hours and days they can work.

4. Make sure it works for the team

How will the part-time presence of a new employee affect the productivity of the rest of the team? Discuss the flexible format and the reasons behind it with the team in advance. If you have the job design right, there shouldn’t be a problem integrating a new person and it will make the new employee’s early induction much easier.

5. Don’t forget to recruit the right person for the job

Competency, experience and personality are more important that the hours the candidate can do. These must come first as no amount of hours will make the wrong person right for the job. Many clients find that they can access a higher level of skills and experience from the flexible working community so take advantage of it.

6. Choose a candidate that really wants flexible work

The recession has driven some unemployed people to take part-time roles while they seek a full-time position. In some cases this has resulted in resignation shortly after taking up the flexible job as soon as they find a full-time role. Not good. There are thousands of people that only want part-time or flexible hours so ensure this is the case when you’re at interview stage – or better, before they get to interview.

7. Take advantage of the talent available to you

For many professionals seeking flexible work, the traditional characteristics of a career – progression and salary growth – diminish slightly as the importance of hours worked and a convenient location become more important. The combination of a rewarding job, a reasonable salary, hours that ease their home and work pressures and a convenient location mean employers can attract a higher calibre of experienced people than they expected. We strongly recommend employers take advantage of this and not let ‘too senior’, ‘better than me’ and ‘will get bored’ get in the way. The job may be perfect for them.

8. Prepare for the Interview

Some employers mistakenly fear that balancing family and work could affect flexible workers’ reliability – something not borne out in practice. A good interview can identify a candidate’s desire for the role and the strength of their capabilities, making questions about age, children, and childcare unnecessary (be careful not to ask discriminatory questions at interview – but they should be unnecessary).

9. Get the Terms and Conditions right

Reduced hours contracts can affect many entitlements –such as developing pro rata bonuses, hours, breaks and holidays – in addition to pay. Determine what benefits are associated with the flexible role before you interview or offer the job. It will make induction and early stages much easier and provide the clarity and transparency that both employers and employees require. We can help with this.

10. Agree on future flexibility

We often find that after the first few months of a new role,
the requirements of the flexible job require slight adjustment
to the days and hours worked. If this is clear from the outset and both the employee and employer recognise this possibility you can prepare for it in advance. Contract or temporary worker formats can be used if there is a high degree of uncertainty.

Andrea Starbuck ten2two

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