This month, we move a step on from
establishing the flexible working environment and look at staff selection. It
is not enough to have a policy – it needs to be put into practice. So how do
you go about developing a strategy for recruiting flexible staff?
The process is derived from the
business plan. Every element of your flexible working scheme must mirror your
overall business strategy. Where will the business be in the short and long
terms, and what resource does the business need to achieve those goals?
Flexible recruitment is about
understanding the deliverables of the role in question. Being clear about the content
of the role will highlight what proportion of time needs to be spent working
with clients, colleagues or suppliers and what proportion is about individual
work being independent of time and location. This sets out where and when the
work can be carried out.
Can a candidate working part-time
achieve the deliverables or does it need a full-time role? If the role is
full-time, could it be shared between two employees in a job-share capacity?
Look at the bigger picture too. A job
cannot be designed in isolation, so ensure that you understand and communicate
the impact of a flexible working position on the rest of the workforce. It is
no good, for example, if your individual flexible work contracts leave you with
only a skeleton office staff – or indeed no staff – in the office on any one
This recruitment process results in
a business case, which provides guidelines when deciding which roles can be
performed in a flexible way. Once you have identified the appropriate working
solution, the manager needs to communicate clearly the parameters of the job
and what they expect the employee to achieve. Communicate to the potential
candidates what you expect them to achieve from their job role, not from the
hours they invest.
Once you have achieved all of the
above, you will have an effective template in place for a flexible recruitment
strategy that should be piloted, evaluated and adapted as needed.
This is not just about recruitment
but also retention. By understanding what skills, experience and deliverables
are expected from the role, you can identify the potential employee, who may be
an internal or external candidate.
To attract that person, you need to
treat them as you would a customer. Consider their personal requirements,
pulling together a relevant, tailored package. Remember, there is no point in
attracting people with a flexible contract if the environment does not support
Flexible workers should not be
penalised for their status – if they are, you are likely to lose them. It is
important to work out a benefits and appraisal package specifically for your
flexible workers that all the management team has contributed to and will
By Carol Savage
The Resource Connection