Attraction of flexible working ignored by HR

2007

Nearly nine out 10 workers will go for jobs that offer flexible or remote working when it comes to choosing a new employer. Yet just half of HR professionals rate this as something important that their organisations should be offering.

A survey by recruitment giant Monster has found work-life balance, particularly flexi-time and telecommuting, to be the key selling point that job-seekers will look for when evaluating a job.

Yet just half of HR professionals consider it to be an important part of the hiring mix.

What's more, most employees don't think much of what their organisation does to promote work-life balance.

Fewer than a third of workers rated their organisation's initiatives as good or excellent; with nearly six out of 10 complaining that their employer in fact encouraged people to work too much.

And while six out of 10 HR professionals believed there would be more employer-provided work-life balance initiatives within five years, only half believed general work-life balance would improve in the future.

"Developing and promoting a work/life balance programme can be a key differentiator in today's challenging recruitment market where there are ample opportunities for job seekers," said Jesse Harriott, vice president of research at Monster.

"Thus, employers should look to improve their employment brand by creating and promoting a flexible, balanced work atmosphere as an effective means of improving recruitment and retention," Harriott added.

More than three-fourths of workers believed work-life balance initiatives resulted in more loyal and efficient employees.

Eight out of 10 said that, in the offer stage, a potential employer's work-life balance initiatives were important or very important to consider.

Yet just half of HR professionals felt they acquired more qualified candidates because of their work-life balance initiatives.

Six out of 10 employees said they spent too much time working, with a third blaming their boss' expectations and a quarter saying they overworked to fit in with corporate culture.

Nine out of 10 said they had worked directly with someone they would classify as a "workaholic".

Of this group, half found that doing so spurred them to work longer hours, with more than a quarter giving up vacation days as a result.

And a quarter admitted to boasting about work-life imbalance to demonstrate their commitment and hard work ethic.

Older Comments

I'm suprised by this finding as today's HR function has an increased awareness of the challenges of recruiting and retaining talent as well as the changing demographics that are shaping the marketplace.

It may well be that in companies that do not offer competitive work-life balance and flexible working packages that candidates actually de-select themselves before the recruitment process even starts. As such, HR would only have a snapshot of the talent available. Crucially, it's these more discerning candidates that HR needs to attract.

If more HR professionals do not start to consider flexible working and improved work-life balance as an important part of the hiring mix, they will lose out in the war for talent and risk becoming less competitive as a result.

Sharon Mullen, Strategi Search & Selection UK