Taking the Flexible Approach to Recruitment
With more employees being able to choose working hours to suit their work/life requirements, and a flexible approach to working becoming the norm, Toby Conibear, European Business Director for Bond International Software, looks at how this legislation is creating new challenges for organisations and how a consultancy approach by recruitment agencies is increasingly required by clients looking to fill flexible working roles.
A growing trend?
According to a recent report around 41% of British workers have spent some time in their career as a flexible worker – be this to fill specific requirements in order to create balance in their lives or due to the need to be employed in some capacity, flexible working has always been an option for workers to some degree. As well as this, freelance work is a practical alternative to some individuals, in fact there are now 1.35 million people working as freelancers with a further 200,000 taking on freelance work as a second job.
With statistics like these it is no surprise that many employees see flexible working as a good option in order to create balance in their lives. But how does it affect organisations that are looking to fill flexible roles? Plus what is the ripple effect for recruitment agencies/consultants?
Traditionally roles have been either full or part-time, office based with a fixed or pro-rata salary. Recruitment agencies knew the candidates that matched the client’s criteria and could ensure that the role was filled easily and with the right person for the job – but with organisations now working with employees to fill specific shifts, the role of the recruitment agency is essentially one of providing real consultancy, not just search and match.
Avoiding the strain
Many organisations need reminding that flexibility is not just about changing the balance and dynamics of its workforce simply with the year-end budget in mind, it is in fact a long term employee strategy that works alongside the wider business plan – matching where more staff will be required over a certain period of time and then mapping the workforce to meet these demands. A strategic approach is required to design an approach with flexible working in mind.
Taking flexible working into context, the recruiter needs to understand the requirements of the client including the hours and salary. This seems like a basic approach, but with the added pressure of having to find the right candidate with the right skills and open to working a specific flexible pattern, understanding the finer details will help make the matching process easier for the recruiter.
It’s good to talk
It is all in the communication! Having conversations with candidates that may be considering flexible working but have not yet taken the step within the recruitment process is vital – explaining the options available to them and discussing the roles available is key to finding the right person for the job.
The option to flexibly work in itself can be seen as a benefit/incentive. As the culture of flexible working continues to grow, future candidates will soon come to expect a range of roles – and working options – to be available to them. Again, initial candidate conversations become ever more important in the client/candidate matchmaking process.
In the next blog of this two part series, we look at the impact of recruiting for flexible roles.