Majority of employees ready to walk if companies do not embrace hybrid working, report reveals

Data shows hybrid work remains the most popular option for staff and jobseekers, alongside increased salary transparency in job ads
July 24, 2023

Three quarters (77 per cent) of employees would actively look for a new job or be willing to consider one if their company’s flexible work policies were to be reversed, a study has found.

The Candidate Experience Report by Greenhouse, which polled more than 800 UK-based employees, also discovered that inflexible businesses will struggle to hire top talent as more than 40 per cent of candidates will not apply for a role that does not offer their preferred working model.

While more companies mandate a return to the office, the report found that hybrid remains the preferred working for almost half (47 per cent) of all workers, while more than 11 per cent prefer a fully remote model, suggesting that employees want a flexible mix of in-person and remote work.

Jenny Vadevalloo, head of Timewise Jobs, said many people viewed flex as the defining characteristic of successful employment. “Workers want jobs that don’t come at the expense of their families or health but rather support them,” she said.

The perception of what kind of jobs “work” successfully on fewer hours or remotely was challenged in the pandemic and “candidates have new expectations”, Vadevalloo added, but good employer brands anticipate this up front and already offer flex options when a role is advertised. However, “they are still the exception, not the norm”, she said.

Similarly, Gemma Dale, lecturer at Liverpool Johns Moores University and co-founder of The Work Consultancy, said this report was “consistent” with earlier studies that revealed employees liked flexible work arrangements and were willing to “switch employment to take advantage of them”.

Dale pointed out that forthcoming legislative change under the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill – which will give employees the legal right to request flexible working from day one of their employment – would also put increasing pressure on organisations to be transparent about their flexible working policies at an early stage.

As such, Dale added that businesses should be “transparent” about what they provide and how to access it, ensure that policies and approaches were supported by data rather than mandating a set amount of office time that is typically “resented” and offer workers a variety of flexible working options.

Importance of transparency in job ads

The Greenhouse data also found that more than 40 per cent of respondents were more likely to respond to a job posting that included a salary range, with one quarter (24 per cent) of respondents less likely to or not willing to apply for a role if it did not include a salary range.

In a response to an open letter from tech recruitment company Liberty Hive, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub stated in May that it would “continue to call on employers” to include pay information in job postings.

Meanwhile, a recent CIPD survey found an increasing number of businesses (66 per cent compared to 56 per cent in a previous CIPD survey conducted in 2022) felt it was critical to provide flexible working as a choice when posting job openings.

Claire McCartney, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, explained that it was evident that UK workers valued having a variety of flexible working options. “CIPD research shows that an estimated four million employees have changed their profession altogether because of a lack of flexible working options. In a time of continued skills shortages, employers can’t afford to be missing out on this wealth of employee talent,” she said.

McCartney added that while hybrid working continued to grow in popularity, it was important that employers offered a range of flexible working patterns to ensure they were supporting all employees, including those who have to be in the “physical workplace and can’t work remotely”.

Albert Azis-Clauson, CEO of UnderPinned and chair of the Association for the Future of Work, said flexibility, hybrid work and work styles were not employee perks to be viewed in isolation, but were “levers within a new structure of work”.

“The key trend in the future of work is not greater flexibility, that is a symptom, it is the movement away from linear role-based hiring focused on the amount of time spent ‘doing a job’, and towards objective-based hiring where the value output is the thing being measured,” he added.

As such, he explained that top employees wanted to work “efficiently” and “effectively” towards a desired output and “bounding them within a system designed for a traditional time-based format of linear employment just doesn’t work anymore”.

Original Article: People Management

Embracing hybrid approach can potentially lead to a more productive and fulfilling work environment for both employers and employees. For all your recruitment challenges – contact our HR & digital recruitment specialist Gareth Allison on 02920 620702

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