Aberdeen-based Align People HR has reported a 75% increase in Q1 for requests from businesses looking for support to implement permanent hybrid working practices and flexible working trials.
The independent HR consultancy has been assisting businesses across multiple sectors in the North-east to introduce a range of flexible working trials. These include moving to an output or productivity-based work system, whereby employees receive an additional 1 day off per month with no reduction in pay - providing productivity targets are met.
Other clients have introduced flexibility in allowing employees to choose their start and finish times: provided core hours are being covered they can opt to work on a more flexible basis to fit in with their lifestyles and family commitments.
Businesses have reported an overwhelmingly positive reaction so far from employees involved in this 3-month trial.
Align People HR has also experienced more candidates asking questions about the flexibility of working time, and opportunities for remote or hybrid working during the recruitment process.
In parallel to businesses making hybrid and flexible working patterns permanent, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) recently published a research paper arguing that organisations need to offer flexibility beyond traditional work or shift patterns in order to be considered an employer of choice.
Alison Paton, CEO of Align People HR, who is also Vice-Chair of the CIPD for the North Scotland and Islands branch commented: “While businesses have had to embrace remote working and then hybrid working model over the last two years, we’re now entering a period where there is a call to retain the hybrid working model as a permanent fixture within businesses going forward. This brings scenarios and questions that need to be analysed and answered from both employers and employees, and we’ve seen this activity really ramp up since the start of 2022. It’s crucial for businesses to get this next step right to ensure a successful and sustainable business.
“We’ve been helping to facilitate inclusive conversations with employees, providing reassurance that in this changed work-life landscape, their employer is still interested in them as an individual, and their contribution at work is valued. This type of conversation is time well-spent in terms of maintaining employee loyalty, engagement and motivation. Being conscious of this and creating a sense of belonging for employees will also help businesses retain their talent in a buoyant job market. Our clients are really seeing the benefits of introducing more flexible working hours for their employees who are keen to make the new practices work.”
Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that having employees with a strong sense of belonging at work is linked to a 56% increase in job performance and 75% fewer absence days.
The Align People HR purpose is to support SMEs grow productive and inclusive business cultures, with fully aligned and engaged employees. They offer clients a full lifecycle of HR services with the choice of three different levels of service.
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