Flexible working arrangements are an increasingly common workplace initiative introduced by organisations that are keen to attract the best talent to their ranks. Typically, it allows employees to tailor their work commitments to their other life responsibilities. However only a handful of organisations are offering flexibility to all their employees, a move that PwC made two years ago.
In 2015, PwC introduced “default flexibility” which allows employees to work the hours they want, where they want and how they want. In the last year, the uptake of this flexibility initiative has been significant, with more than eighty per cent of the workforce identifying themselves as having entered into some form of flexible arrangement.
Sue Horlin, Human Capital Leader at PwC Australia said the program starts with talking to the individual and opening up a conversation to design a role that works.
“Our all roles flex policy is centred on every single person in our organisation having the opportunity to talk to us about how they want to work,” Ms Horlin told a future that works.
“Our default position is that we will build your role around you to give you the flexibility you need.”
This default position means employees at PwC do not have to “break the ice” on flexibility to their employers, instead the door is always open to discuss what working arrangement would work best for them during the different stages of their working life.
Some of the options taken up by employees include combinations of working different hours, reduced hours at work or working from home, either temporarily or on a permanent basis.
Ms Horlin said in order for a flexibility program to succeed, organisations need to be led in two primary ways:
- Leadership from the top – leadership needs to believe in the program and model it themselves.
- Led by employees – key employees on all levels also need to support the program. This includes team leaders and managers.
PwC have also changed the way employees can enjoy their public holiday - “floating public holidays” allow employees to take a public holiday on the day of their choosing.
Giving employees greater choice and giving them autonomy to choose appropriately is about building trust, according to Ms Horlin.
“Our flexibility program demonstrates how much management trust their employees, which is what helps attract and retain employees with diverse talents.”
“We are increasingly employing people with different skill sets and different backgrounds and have different ways of working”.
“Our purpose at PwC is to build trust in society and solve important problems and we have values and behaviours that we live by.”
Ms Horlin said flexibility was the solution for PwC – “As long as employees continue to work towards the organisation’s purpose, PwC trusts them to work the way that is best for them.”
PwC’s progressive flexibility policies has landed them the top spot in LinkedIn’s Top Companies in 2017.
DID YOU KNOW?
The workplace of the future will need leaders to be open to changed work practices that acknowledge business, family and community life (CEO Insights Report).