Hire for a successful flexible work culture: Three vital tips

When considering adapting flexible working schemes, the question that HR executives faces is how to identify which of the candidates can adapt to such an environment. It would be extremely helpful if we could list one or two traits that a candidate should possess to help foster a culture of flexibility in the organisation

A very common assumption is that those who are entering the workforce - Millennials or Gen Y-ers - don’t want the same work environment as their parents. Statements that “young people value flexible schemes more than money” or “will not accept a job offer if they can’t access Facebook” are circulating in the press for some time now.  The conclusion might be that candidates should be young and technology savvy.

However, the risk is that we might be stereotyping candidates by trying to look out for certain traits. In recruitment, professionals like to hire the best talent for the job; thus, flexible working should be a choice that the employee can exercise. And the reality is this: those who benefit from flexible working schemes are actually Gen X-ers, who by now, have families to take care of and want to keep the work-life balance.

Increasingly, companies are shifting towards flexible schemes because it makes good business sense, not only because that’s what employees are demanding. It is well known that teleworking increases staff retention and helps to attract new talent, while for employees, the freedom of controlling their working day and environment reduces the desire to seek employment elsewhere.

Different employees would have different needs when it comes to planning their work day. The real question should be how, as an employer you can help your employees, particularly new hires, integrate work-life balance through your organisation’s flexible work arrangements.

It could be a challenge to adapt to a flexible working environment for employees who come from companies without a flexible work culture and they might find it hard to assimilate into new working culture. Here are the top tips HR professionals can follow when introducing employees to flexible work arrangements:

1. Start early. Candidates usually have to go through multiple rounds of interviews, and it might be useful to use technology early in the recruitment process – from the very first screening through to final interviews. A successful flexi-work candidate will demonstrate a level of comfort or willingness to adopt technology, and by offering a number of ways to join an interview, the job experience can be a seamless and un-daunting one.

2. Hands on experience.  As part of the orientation, employees should be trained how to use technological solutions such as video conferencing or content sharing, and how to have this setup to work from home or on the go. Engaging new employees from day one in video conferences is the perfect opportunity for them to get some practice and hands on experience with collaboration technology, and become comfortable with meeting face-to-face with colleagues across any distance.


3. Home setup and video etiquette. There is one major factor that we need to be mindful of – not everyone’s home can be transformed into office and has appropriate technological infrastructure in place and this could be the first time an employee is using video conferencing technology. The key to flexi-working is to make it really “just like being there,” and as with any face-to-face meeting, proper etiquette needs to be followed. It is crucial to help new employees set up and frame their view, so they are visible and there are no distractions in the background at home. Considerations such as lighting and audio levels also come into play, as do on-screen body language and showing up promptly to a meeting.

In conclusion, a flexible working culture should enable and empower employees to be equally or even more productive than an employee in the office. With advances in technology, meeting and collaboration experiences are rapidly changing to make flexible working a way of life, keeping employees connected and productive no matter where they are.

By Eric Wong

Head - Talent Acquisition and Development - APJ and China


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