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Flexible Work Arrangements Build Loyalty

Flexible Work Arrangements Build Loyalty

With tight hiring budgets and few qualified applicants, the old approach of on-site, full-time and 9-to-5 is falling by the wayside. Many employers around the country are meeting their project deadlines and need for quality by engaging employees in a wide range of nontraditional employment configurations. Some smart employers are also holding on to top talent who would otherwise resign by offering alternative arrangements. Employers who insist on conventional full-time employment are setting themselves up for long fill times and the unnecessary misery of trying to find qualified full-time people.

Keep the Good Ones

When a job opening is created, broaden your usual approach. In addition to seeking a full-time replacement, consider offering exiting employees, ex-employees and job applicants a nontraditional arrangement that meets immediate company and candidate needs. For example, a manager faced with a valued employee's resignation in order to return to school, care for an elderly parent or child, or because of health problems, could offer to reconfigure the job, enabling the employee to continue to work. Here are a few ideas:

  • Part-time hours (even one day a week)
  • Job sharing
  • On a per project basis
  • Telecommuting from home with regular online or in-person meetings

By continuing a relationship with an excellent employee, the organization is more likely to avoid the hidden costs of turnover, including missed deadlines, quality issues, customer/client problems and even domino effect turnover. You'll likely need to hire a second person to take over the balance of responsibilities, but it is easier to find such candidates today than it was just five or 10 years ago.

Fill in the Gaps

Ex-employees and potential hires may be very interested in other, even more creative ways to be associated with your organization. Right Management, an international human resources consulting firm with more than 200 offices worldwide, requires the availability of a small army of trained consultants who are engaged as needed to assist corporate clients undergoing large downsizings. Some individuals use their vacations days to work for RMC.

Whether for sporadic needs or ongoing requirements, many employers cultivate hiring opportunities with:

  • Ex-employees or others working for noncompeting businesses
  • Consultants who are available as needed
  • Stay-at-home moms
  • Downsized individuals at all levels
  • Adult students
  • Retired professionals

These candidates tend to know others with similar work preferences and skills, and can be terrific referral sources. Employers intent on achieving goals within budget and time parameters are using this emerging strategy. They are also listening to the needs of talented individuals who seek alternative work arrangements by matching them to the work that needs to be accomplished. Employees hired and developed creatively reward employers with loyalty.