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With the ever-present, and only increasing, dialogue about millennials…

…and what they expect from potential employers, as well as the growing family care responsibilities for all employees, flexibility is an inevitability that businesses need to embrace in one form or another. And why not?  It’s an excellent business decision.

Flexibility isn’t only defined in the traditional sense of the “flexible schedule job.”  Flexibility can describe the huge, far–reaching, structural and corporate changes businesses are starting to effect.  Think the recent Zappos change – going from a conventional hierarchy to a Holacracy, where there is more concern about managing for the purpose or mission rather than managing individual behaviors.

I’m not suggesting any business needs to go that far (at least not yet…) but this year, analyze if any of your policies and procedures can get a little “elastic.”  A few suggestions where to start:

Performance Management:

If your organization has the traditional annual review process with manager reviewing subordinate’s performance, consider adding peer reviews or self-evaluations in order to get a more comprehensive view of an employee’s performance and perception of their performance.

Don’t continue to rely on the traditional annual review, though, as they may eventually go away altogether.  Other options such as crowdsourcing, employee-driven (choosing how often they get evaluated – weekly, monthly etc.), or by project or task are gaining traction.

 Employee Learning:

Investing time in employees’ development can drive employee engagement up.  Orientations should include not only practical on the job training but education about the culture and mission of the organization.  And it shouldn’t stop there:

  • Offer in-house training opportunities regularly
  • Time off for, and encouragement to attend, relevant seminars, webinars, etc.
  • Rewards for employees who develop new skills

How & Where Work Is Done:

Reconsider how and where your employees do their work. The more traditional definition of workplace flexibility, and it is becoming essential to your employees and potential employees.

  • Offer flexible scheduling either by allowing employees to flex hours or by allowing them to choose their schedule
  • Allow employees to work remotely – a “snowpocalypse” won’t grind your business to a halt!
  • And if you want to be a flexibility leader – assign a project and a deadline and let the employee manage their time altogether – like Netflix.

If your business needs advice or assistance with your workplace policies and procedures – Purple Ink can help!

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Manager of Career Coaching Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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