Mar 15th 2022

Just how important is flexible working to today’s job seekers?

The UK hiring push is at a 30-year high, but businesses relying on the traditional methods to land the best employees risk losing out.

In recent times, a larger salary or more time off might have been enough. But today’s professionals are seeking more sophisticated offerings that respect how we have grown through the pandemic.

“We’re seeing growing labour shortages among highly skilled workers”, says Chris Gray, director of recruiter, ManpowerGroup UK.

“Those with the in-demand skills hold the power…the freedom and flexibility to accept a job that suits their particular needs and expectations,” he adds.

Beyond flexible working, executives must approach the whole employment proposition with a flexible mindset if companies are to shine in the eyes of the modern worker.

The following considerations should guide strategy through 2022:

  • Remote work is here to stay

We understand “remote” and the advantages it brings, so it’s no surprise that most employees want the option to operate from home for three days per week (McKinsey & Co). Going further, 42% of the US workforce say they would consider moving jobs if organisations went back to being fully office-based, Prudential finds.

“Workers want the benefit of remote work, but still see the value of coming in together in person at least some of the time,” Prudential’s vice chair, Rob Falzon confirms.

While the return to office life is restoring ballast to professional life, the C-suite must ensure that hybrid options are available, wherever possible.

  • Flexible benefits are decisive

The Covid crisis has highlighted a general lack of care for personnel, exposing a burnout culture that has itself been exacerbated by the pandemic.

There’s now an undeniable moral imperative to introduce more impactful benefits – something that 98% of HR leaders intend to do.

Flexible childcare, health and dental packages, retirement plans, life insurance and savings strategies can demonstrate real investment into employees lives, helping to bolster financial resilience in these economically challenging times.

  • Open up career pathways

The past two years have left many questioning their role, both professionally and in society at large.

In the US, 37% of employees say their career has stalled, and 1-in-4 British workers claim to have had appraisals or promotions postponed. People are experiencing “a lack of career progression and concern around skills development,” Rob Falzon says.

We must respond by retooling staff in ways that motivate and create opportunity. One-to-ones and team meetings will give individuals greater voice and allow managers to better understand needs, while training and education programmes should underpin a drive to support in-house career progression.

As hybrid arrangements develop, staying in touch will be vital in tackling any perceived proximity bias.

  • Cultivate a working lifestyle

The fact that 40% of UK workers say they would leave their current occupation for a better work/life balance is indicative of the sea change that corporate culture is experiencing.

“How we feel about [social connections] can have an incredible impact on our mental health, engagement and productivity,” says consulting director at Thomsons Online Benefits, Jack Curzon.

Studies show that supervisor support is fundamental to wellbeing, while celebrating successes, weekly activities, and regular team get-togethers are great for stoking social energy. Yoga or similar exercise sessions can bring physical variety into busy schedules to build the feel-good factor.

  • Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI)

Proving critical for 80% of employees, enriching DEI increases the value of everyone in the organisation; it allows individuals to participate and realise their full potential.

“[Staff members] who are satisfied with their company’s efforts on [DEI] issues are actually happier with their jobs,” confirms Laura Wronski, a research science manager at SurveyMonkey. 

Companies should allocate resources towards identifying and mitigating bias, and nurturing empathetic relationships in order to get the best out of individuals and teams. Further, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals should be explicit throughout the business system.

Champion the human element

It has been a necessary measure over the past two years, but flexible working has awakened professionals to a fresh sense of personal value. It’s an evolution that businesses fail to embrace at their peril.

By forging environments that complement the interconnected nature of life post-Covid, companies can create exciting employment propositions within communities that people want to be a part of.


“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” 

Harvey S. Firestone


At HR Spectrum, we know that through collaboration with individuals and companies who you know and trust, you can achieve smoother, more effective workflows and lasting success. 

To find out more about the fantastic opportunities available through HR Spectrum, contact us today.

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