When White Now placed an advert on www.whitenow.com.au and SEEK on behalf of a client looking for an Office Assistant 3 days per week, the client received 345 applications! The good news was that there was a large percentage of high calibre candidates which made the job of choosing a short list really tough, but ultimately led to a great result because it was such a strong field.
So why was this such a popular job? Well, this client recognised that whilst work is an important part of life, people have other commitments and interests that are equally important and if all these things can be accommodated or balanced, they are going to have happy, committed employees!
Lots of employees enjoy working and WANT to work, but also have family commitments or interests they want to pursue. There is a HUGE market of ‘return to work’ Mums and Dads, semi-retirees, part time students etc that have valuable skills and experience, often at a much higher level, who still want to contribute to a workplace that they can enjoy and add value to. Just not necessarily in a full time or 9am-5pm capacity.
How can you tap into this great resource? Take a look at the roles that you have and think a bit ‘outside the square’ about the way work is done and how you can build flexibility into your workplace. Offer school hours or the flexibility to take time out during the day to attend school activities and make the time up later. Can work be done remotely (from home) on some or all days, or after hours? Ask an employee ‘how can we make this work for you?’ and negotiate a mutually suitable arrangement. And don’t forget to ask yourself, “is job-sharing an option?”
Offering a flexible workplace can often open up the the job to a larger pool of higher calibre employees to chose from. And often these employees come with a high level of commitment and and work performance because they have a great work/life balance. Flexibility in the workplace can also be a great retention tool. Offering your existing employees more flexibility maybe one reason that will keep them working for your organisation rather than them looking elsewhere.
Next time a vacancy comes up, take a different look at it: how can you incorporate more flexibility and attract a whole new candidate pool?