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Why flexibility in the workplace is so important in today’s market

January 14, 2020

In the second of our series, The New Face of Recruitment: Female Leaders Paving the Way, Jody Fazldeen, Director at Talentpath Recruitment talks with Hannah Kissel, LinkedIn’s Regional Sales Manager - Head of SMB (Staffing ANZ), and Clara McCarthy, LinkedIn Search and Staffing Enterprise Relationship Manager, who are the co-founders of Australian Women in Recruitment (AWIR), about why employers who are not offering flexible working conditions are “backward-thinking” in their approach.

 

Q. Talentpath’s 2019 Talent Guide clearly shows flexibility is a major drawcard for employers wanting to attract the best talent. Can you tell us more about your findings?

 

A. We are this generation of busy, busy, busy, where most households have two working parents and there is this constant state of busyness, so more than ever, for the lifestyle we are all living, flexibility is key. And there is this real sense of wanting to have it all - to be a parent, have a family and build a career. The only way to achieve it all, is to have the flexibility to lean in and lean out of different things at different times. And this is not gender specific; it’s fairly universal across both genders. We have CEO dads who still want to do school pick-up, who are happy to be on international conference calls from 9pm to midnight. There is this real commitment from individuals that “if you give me that flexibility, I will give you that outcome”. “If you need 40 hours from me, I’ll give you that, but let me do it in the hours that best work for me”.

 

Q. What does flexibility in the workplace look like?

 

A. Flexibility means something different to everyone. It’s flexibility about where people work, the hours they work and when they work them. Some need that flexibility for school drop-off with their children, for others it’s to take care of pets or elder relatives. It may be having the flexibility to leave early to go to a yoga class. Flexibility is not necessarily about reducing the hours someone works or where they work them, it’s about allowing them to lean into different areas of their life as they need to. Giving flexibility and creating benefits and incentives as individually as you can across an organisation is not forward-thinking; if you are not at that point, you are backward-thinking.

 

Q. What are some of the benefits of incorporating flexibility into a business model?

 

A. When we started Talentpath, we wanted to attract experienced, senior recruiters who were empowered to run their businesses the way they wanted to. We started our business so we could have it all - raise a family and build a career. We wanted that for our staff as well and the premise was that to be able to do that we needed flexibility. As a result, we have been able to attract some great consultants and we have a workplace culture where staff feel trusted and empowered. It also has a real impact on our retention.

 

Q. Have you found that as technology has evolved, it has afforded you greater flexibility?

 

A. This has been a major thing for us. Our recruitment software sits on the Salesforce platform and it’s such a beautifully devised platform. It’s ability to have it on our laptops and iPads and sit on whatever device we need, is a really great tool for extending that flexibility. We continually invest in that and keep our processes slick so we can run the business effectively from wherever we are. There is a solid and constant investment in that.

 

Q. As a woman, did you face any roadblocks in your path to leadership?

 

A. I think the barrier, as a mother and woman starting and growing a family, is at different times your lean needs to be more towards them and at other times you can lean more to your career. And at times it is frustrating. But we also learned from that. It was about creating the same impact and outcomes and doing th