Give ‘Em What They Want: The Small Perk with the Big Payoff

Hey HR professionals! Are you trying to figure out an easy way to recruit top talent and keep your employees happy? It’s much easier than you think. I have one word for you: flexibility.

Every unhappy professional that has come to me looking to change jobs has cited an inflexible work environment as part of the problem.

I am surprised when companies remain chained to old work paradigms, and don’t know (or don’t see) that the way we work has changed. We are now connected all the time, may be coordinating meetings over multiple time zones, and may be trying to create cohesive virtual teams. These issues don’t just affect large companies either. Professionals are willing to work hard but they also have lives. And they occasionally need to make work bend around their lives, while still meeting deadlines and obligations.

Giving employees the option to work remotely on occasion (or more) is something that costs the company relatively little but can attract and retain the best talent. Having autonomy and flexibility is something that most employees value highly. If the company’s technology is current, VoIP phones make call routing easy. Nobody needs to be chained to their desk anymore. Clients dial the same number they always have and get the person they are trying to reach. Calls can be forwarded to home phones or cell phones and clients or colleagues never need to know.

I am certain that I am not alone in this: When I was looking for a corporate position, the ability to work remotely occasionally was a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have requirement. If you work for one of the large consulting firms like I have, the standard software image for your laptop will include everything you need to be productive remotely – be it at a client site, at a hotel, or in your home office.

But some companies still don’t get it. A client of mine moved from Chicago to Ohio with her fiancé. She was a sales rep who traveled frequently to meet with clients. Her territory actually included Ohio so she asked if she could just work her territory from Ohio instead of Chicago. The company said no. They negotiated a transition plan, which allowed her to work remotely only for the time it took them to recruit her replacement. During this time, she continued to meet her quota and do a great job for her clients. So even after proving that the situation could work, the company let her go and incurred the costs of recruiting and training a new sales rep.

Really? In this day and age? What a waste of time and resources!

And if I haven’t sold you yet, how about this: Is Working From Home Becoming the Norm? [SURVEY]? Of the Top 5 factors contributing to job satisfaction, flexibility ranked No. 3.

And according to a recent survey by the corporate giant Cisco Remote working trend gains traction globally even with smaller businesses (100 or fewer employees).

More companies are enabling their employees to work remotely, and the technology is here to support most job functions. Companies that don’t offer this kind of flexibility will have difficulty recruiting and retaining their top talent.

What is your company doing to equip your employees with the technology and tools they need to be successful?

About Guest Blogger

Guest bloggers for the TDS Business Blog.

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12 Responses to Give ‘Em What They Want: The Small Perk with the Big Payoff

  1. Elizabeth Ryder September 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Great post Catherine! I love the flexibility of working from home 2 days per week. I have a friend who works in the corporate world at Johnson & Johnson and she gets to work from home 2 days a week as well – half days on Fridays! It’s refreshing to see companies evolving with the times.

    • Catherine Morgan October 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      I agree, Elizabeth. For a lot of people, some hybrid of working in the office and working from home seems to be ideal for productivity and personal happiness.

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