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How to widen your talent pool with flexible working for parents

11 months ago

How to widen your talent pool with flexible working for parents

​There’s been a big rise in home working since the Covid pandemic, which has been widely welcomed by working parents.

With many successfully juggling the demands of work and childcare during successive lockdowns, companies have learnt to trust employees to work remotely – often seeing a rise in productivity and staff retention as a result.

And this newly embraced way of working has opened up a world of new career opportunities for many working parents. Jobs that weren’t previously feasible due to their incompatibility with childcare and home life commitments, have now become a possibility.

For many, building a successful career whilst maintaining a good work-life balance now seems much more achievable.

A bonus for businesses

At Langley, we’re already seeing businesses benefit from this widening of the talent pool. By supporting home working, they’re now attracting more talented working parents who may have previously discounted them as a potential employer.

And this gives them a big advantage. It’s well documented that having a diverse workforce can give companies a competitive edge and boost staff engagement and retention.

But there’s more to flexibility…

Although embracing home working is a great first step to supporting flexible working, if you want to attract the best talent, then it’s important to look at other ways to support flexible working within your business, and then communicate this externally.

Offering a range of flexible working options will not only make you more attractive as an employer, it can also bring a range of other benefits, including:

  • Increased motivation amongst employees and an increase in loyalty and commitment

  • Better employee retention and reduced recruitment costs

  • Improved staff morale and enhanced wellbeing in the workplace

  • Decreased absenteeism and sickness

  • Increased productivity and the ability to adapt to changing situations due to a more diverse workforce

So, what is flexible working?

A flexible job is any job where some or all of the role can be done on a part-time basis, remotely or outside of the normal 9 to 5 working hours.

Some of the most popular flexible roles among working parents, that can be carried out in the office, at home or as a hybrid model, include:

Part-time working

This can be carried out in a number of ways. It may involve a later start and earlier finish, working just mornings or afternoons, working only a few days a week or any other form of reduced hours.

Compressed working hours

This enables employees to work their agreed hours over fewer working days. For example, someone might work five days across four, giving them one free day a week.

Extended working hours

When an employee wants to work fewer hours per day to allow for home commitments, such as school pick up, they may choose to work three full days across four, for example.

Job sharing

When two employees want flexible working, job sharing can be a great solution. This is when two people share a full-time position, usually split 50/50, but it can vary, e.g. 60/40.

Term-time working

This is when an employee is able to work during the term time on a permanent contract, but is also able to take paid or unpaid leave during the school holidays.

How to embrace flexible working

If you want to support flexible working to widen your talent pool, then it’s important to reflect this throughout your business – not only to attract the best candidates, but also to retain them and encourage career progression. 

So, before you highlight your support for flexible working in your job adverts, make sure you’re already living and breathing it as a business.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Offer flexibility to existing employees

Make it clear that job flexibility is possible for everyone in the team, if their role allows. Talk openly about flexible working and suggest it if you think it would help a particular employee.

  • Lead by example

Talk openly about flexible working within the workplace, so it becomes part of your company culture. If you need a bit of flexibility, to attend a family commitment for example, discuss this with colleagues and let them know.

  • Facilitate career progression for flexible workers

Some flexible workers report that they’re not offered the same opportunities for career progression as full-time workers, as they’re not seen as dedicated enough to their role. Setting clear performance related objectives, that can be measured and reviewed regularly, can help to prevent this and facilitate promotions.

  • Provide training for line managers

It’s important that line managers are comfortable talking to employees about their family situations and their home life demands. With training, they can learn how to deal with any sensitive situations and ensure flexible workers aren’t penalised or made to feel any less important than full-time employees.

  • Introduce a mentoring scheme

If working parents can see a flexible route to promotion and more senior roles, then they’re more likely to stay within an organisation. If you have senior female flexible workers within your team, for example, ask them to mentor the more junior team members and talk to them about working flexibly while pursuing a career.

  • Be mindful of team event scheduling

If you’re arranging a team event, bear in mind everyone’s working patterns and be as inclusive as you can. If they usually take place after work for example, which can often be difficult for working parents to attend, think about arranging an event during the working day.

  • Be open to remote working

As mentioned, the Covid years proved how well working from home can work for businesses, so where possible, be open to suggestions from employees about how this could work for them. A hybrid working pattern is becoming increasingly popular, where employees split their time between the office and home.

Promoting flexible working in your recruitment process

Once flexible working has been fully embraced within your business, then you should start promoting this throughout your recruitment process to find some of the best talent out there. 

Here are some top tips:

  • Mention your support for flexible working as early on in the job advert as you can, to make sure it’s not missed

  • Check your job adverts for any unconscious bias. Make sure the language you use around flexible working is inclusive and consistent

  • If you’re working with a recruitment consultant, then make sure they’re fully briefed on the flexibility of the role and encourage them to highlight this to all potential candidates 

  • After the initial job advert, mention flexible working throughout the interview process. Where you can, offer examples of existing employees who work flexibly, so they know that your business is already fully on board

  • Once you’ve chosen your preferred candidate, make sure flexible working is part of your salary and benefits negotiations. Be open to suggestions of how the flexibility could work for the candidate and work together to agree the best set-up

Can we help?

As specialists in procurement and supply chain recruitment, at Langley we work closely with public and private sector clients to find them the very best candidates from a diverse talent pool.

Implementing excellent recruitment practices with equality and diversity monitoring is at the heart of what we do – allowing us to offer expert advice and guide prospective clients.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you, contact us here is give us a call on +44(0)333 366 0839.

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