Many HR teams are able to convince their boards that flexible working brings benefits to the business case, but few know what to do on a day-to-day basis.
Performance management is one of the key areas to consider and one in which HR can take the lead. It is important to set clear and measurable performance criteria, especially in the case of flexible working.
It also needs to be established from the outset how the nature or emphasis of the job may have changed. Should some of the performance indicators be prioritised slightly differently from a competency point of view? Areas such as communication, planning and organising may need to be highlighted as particularly important in order to achieve the job effectively through a more flexible pattern.
If there are any flaws in the processes, flexible working has the potential to magnify them. It will also be important to develop softer skills, such as interpersonal sensitivity and awareness of morale and motivation.
You need to establish regular communication channels as you may have less contact with your team day-to-day in the office. As a manager of a flexible worker, you may want to ensure those processes are happening, perhaps in a more structured way.
Communication should be considered not only in terms of objectives, but also in the overall identity and building of the team. If people are working in different ways, you have to work harder at making everyone feel part of the whole.
The flexible worker needs to be accountable. If they are working remotely, or fewer days, there needs to be a regular catch-up opportunity, particularly in the early stages.
Frequent progress reviews need to take place and the manager must feel he or she is getting sufficient information and feedback on how that individual is performing, especially as this may not be coming through the more traditional routes. It may mean a more creative approach to how and where reviews take place. When you meet for more operational reasons you may need to put time aside for a general catch-up.
The individual and the manager should also encourage feedback from peers, cl