Happy to talk flexibility? Say it in your job ads

A government task force has launched a campaign to boost the provision and uptake of flexible working across industry. The flexible Working Task Force, a partnership across government departments, business groups, trade unions and charities, has created the strapline– ‘happy to talk about flexible working’ – together with a logo that firms can add to their job ads to promote their employer brand.

The purpose of the campaign is to increase the numbers of those working flexibly, as well as to investigate the barriers that prevent employers offering flexible options, and employees from taking them up. At Attune Flex Jobs we have seen many law firms come a long way in offering opportunities to work from home or part time. But many still struggle to think beyond the basics, to consider other solutions such as flexi- or compressed hours, job sharing, interim or annualised hours. This campaign also helps to focus minds on the challenges organisations still face in embedding flexible working practices and changing attitudes among line managers and employers.

Employees have had the right to ask for work flexibility since 2014. Figures from the CIPD, however, suggest that the numbers of people working flexibility has not gone up since 2010. This is despite the fact that recent research suggests that as many as 9 in 10 UK employees either already work flexibly or would like to. Many of these will be looking for jobs that advertise flexibility. Yet only 11% of jobs with salaries of £20k+ FTE are advertised as being open to flexibility – the campaign seeks to change that.

Organisations that fail to advertise their flexibility are losing out on:

  1. A huge pool of talent that needs some level of flexibility. If you don’t say you’re open to talking about flexibility, they won’t apply for your jobs.
  2. The possibility of adding more skills and capabilities to your team by bringing in more talent on a flexible basis.
  3. Developing an employer brand that attracts the best. Who doesn’t want to work with an employer that’s responsive, open and cares?
  4. Improved diversity, through bringing in more people who need flexibility to balance home and work life.

At Attune Flex Jobs, we know that firms that advertise their roles as flexible and / or ‘happy to talk about flexible working’ will attract more applications. But we (as well as the Government Taskforce) also suggest firms consider:

  1. Thinking through what you can really offer candidates before posting the logo and strapline. It’s not enough to say you’re happy to talk if you really have no idea how to make flexibility work in practice in that role.
  2. If possible, try to state what flexible options you will consider – job sharing, part time, flexi hours, etc. Some roles will be more adaptable than others. As a minimum stating you welcome applicants who want to discuss flexible working.
  3. Make your job adverts part of a broader communications campaign designed to improve your reputation as an employer of choice that welcomes workplace flexibility. Clearly state your flexible working statement on your website homepage or in communications that go beyond your job adverts. Write case studies/profiles to role model your best examples of flexible working. And remember to message your support for flexible working through your social media channels.
  4. Ensure that line managers who are conducting interviews are all on the same page and won’t just talk flexibility but will see it through in how they manage their team. Promoting a flexible employer brand is a great thing for attracting talent, as long as it actually translates to the shop floor. You can seriously damage your reputation by promising one thing and doing another.

So will your firm be supporting this campaign? And if not, why not? What is stopping you? Thinking more innovatively about flexible working, and advertising your flexible credentials, could seriously boost your firm’s talent.

And if you’re still not sure, come and talk to us at Attune. We have lots of experience in helping firms get flexible and are always happy to share our expertise and best-practice insights.

Contact us today and find out how we can help! sarah.broad@attunejobs.com

Flexible working, Jobs ads

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