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When it comes to business benefit, Millennials and Gen Z value flexibility – sometimes even higher than salary. The younger generation in particular attach great importance to autonomy at work and have no problem leaving a workplace where they feel micro-controlled. You may have grown up with a helicopter parent, but you have no patience for managerial behavior like this.
Successful startups are aware of this mentality and have dutifully changed their corporate culture in order to offer the flexibility that young professionals are looking for. And they reap the rewards of satisfied employees. Providing flexibility to employees has been shown to increase morale and job satisfaction. According to a pre-pandemic Harvard Business Review poll, 96% of professionals said they wanted more flexibility in their work. Yet less than half said they had a flex culture in the workplace.
In order to survive in the competition for top talent, it is important to consider which aspects of flexibility in your company need to be changed, be it in the form of logistical adjustments or a comprehensive cultural change.
Tap on the essentials
Before you start making changes, take a minute to get a glimpse of today's professionals. If your company's human resources and management team has a lot of gray hairs, you are probably not that familiar with what makes up young people. Note: There are no long hours in the office.
Do your research. Start in your own organization: connect with younger colleagues or employees and find out what really motivates them. The coveted work-life balance often comes first. While it may be an overused term, today it is about a sense of autonomy and fluidity when it comes to work and life. Rather than keeping the two completely separate, balance means understanding that they are naturally intertwined.
The focus of the work-life balance is flexibility within the working day, be it a flexible start and end time for employees or a remote working option that allows employees to work from home a few days a week. What's even better is a mix of both: more freedom of when you work and where you do it.
Once you understand what motivates the young talent you are trying to attract, it is time to dig into the basics to make it work for your business.
Similarly, building flexibility into your business model can save your company
In contrast to the old school 9-to-5 office culture, flexible work environments are based on vastly different expectations and accountability. Instead of assuming that time at the chair equals productivity, the managers of today's most flexible companies know that flex-work can actually lead to better performance, happier employees and better project results.
One of the biggest challenges traditional employers face is the tendency towards micro-administration and helicopter care of their employees. Losing that control may feel like a sharp descent into chaos, but with the right leadership and a pragmatic approach, that chaos can quickly turn into innovation.
To help your business adapt to this seismic shift in management style, look no further than the myriad of workplace collaboration programs available, such as: B. Slack. Much of the work nowadays takes place in the cloud. There's no reason people management can't be done online.
Work with your management team to develop a set of metrics that can help you evaluate the work of your employees on a project-by-project basis. Hold your employees accountable for meeting deadlines, but let them determine how and when to do it.
While check-ins are an excellent method for support and progress monitoring, this result-oriented management model gives your employees independence and the ability to be creative and work with self-motivation.
Related: Your employees expect flexible working hours. So give it to them.
The new face of the workplace
Before the pandemic, the concept of flexible work sounded risky to many employers, but last year the path to adaptability paved the way. Companies were forced to adapt to a remote environment. Now that signs of normalcy are emerging and some limitations are being lifted, it is time to explore a hybrid model that will bring employees back to the office on their own terms – or not.
If the thought of unleashing your workforce into an enduring flex-work culture makes you think that young professionals appreciate a balanced lifestyle. To be successful, young workers need a mix of working hours in and out of the office. It takes you a few personal working days to build the soft skills and interpersonal relationships that are critical to mental health and better collaboration.
When your company is ready to embrace a more agile culture, you improve your chances of attracting today's best Millennials and Generation Z. Do not terminate the lease for your office building. Instead, let your managers work with their teams to find the flexible working model that works best for them.
Finding a balance between in the office and remote is a great way to keep the momentum going for teams that really benefit from in-person collaboration. This model also gives managers some of the personal time they need to build relationships and evaluate progress in their teams. With the home-office mix, it's critical for businesses to leverage digital productivity and communication platforms – beyond email and spreadsheets – to keep everyone connected inside and outside the office walls. With a real sense of “work-life balance”, young employees will naturally thrive in their roles and also grow with your company. It really is a win-win situation for everyone.
Related: 3 Easy Ways To Improve Workplace Flexibility