A successful flexible working policy can be enormously beneficial for your company, whether your business is large or small. Effective workforce planning will help you achieve cost savings and productivity improvements, ensure adequate out-of-hours coverage and boost staff morale. Done properly, it’s a a win/win situation for your business.
If you’ve decided to employ a flexible worker, here are 7 steps you should take to introduce the new member of staff into your company.
- Clarity from Day One
No doubt, you’ll have covered working hours and shift patterns during the recruitment stage but it’s a good idea to reiterate your expectations on your new employee’s first day at work. Be as clear as you can about the exact nature of the flexible working pattern on offer, including any possible variations to the agreed hours at short notice. While flexi hours are popular among employees, especially mums returning to work, you will want to ensure that the needs of the business come first.
- Working from home
Does the job have to be carried out from the office, or could some tasks be done from home? Whether it’s working from home during the day, or putting in extra hours in the evening or at weekends, it’s important to determine at the outset what your flexible employee’s work availability will be. Establish a clear framework and procedure for contacting the employee (phone, text, email, app) for out-of-hours work, including acceptable reasons for refusal.
- Effective team communications
If your team is comprised of a mixture of full-time, part-time and flexible workers, it’s important to have an effective and inclusive method for communicating company news, rules and regulations and HR updates so that no-one is left out of the loop. Pick a day when everyone is in the office to hold regular team meetings, and introduce shared mobile platforms and apps as a useful way to communicate with everyone, wherever they may be.
- Empowering technology
Unless your flexible worker is office bound, perhaps they’re working from home, from several locations or are travelling on business, it makes sense to provide the proper technology for them to be able to carry out their duties effectively. From laptops and smartphones with good WiFi access to powerful staff communication apps for quick and easy work updates, there’s really no reason why you can’t make full use of the available technology.
- Handover process
While your flexible worker should be in control of their own workload, there may be times when tasks need to be carried out while the person is not working, as is the case with many part-time positions. A formal handover procedure at the end of the shift, day or week is a sensible measure to make sure that someone else can pick up the work, if necessary. Set up a clear process to say what, how and to whom things can be handed over, giving your flexible employee the responsibility for implementing it.
- Performance targets
It can be hard to accurately assess the performance of your flexible workers compared to full-time employees, since they may be less visible in the business. Resist the temptation to give them ‘special treatment’ – flexi workers must be subject to the same performance criteria and company policies as everybody else. By providing a clear structure to the role and setting measureable and achievable objectives based on skill and experience alongside working hours, it becomes easier much easier to gauge the employee’s value and impact on the business.
- Flexible working review
An informal review of your flexible worker’s performance in the job as well as the general suitability of flexible working for the position should be carried out after an initial period. This will provide a welcome opportunity to assess whether the arrangement is working for your business, for the employee and for the rest of your team. Where necessary, your flexible working practices can be amended to better meet the needs of the job.