Embracing the September Shift: Flexible Working and New Beginnings
As children go back to school and many employees join new companies, organisations have the perfect opportunity to reflect upon their working environments. From flexible working arrangements to seamlessly onboarding new employees, there’s a lot on the agenda. At Phil Collier Associates, we see September as a month of transformation and opportunity, particularly with regards to Human Resources.
Back to School, Back to Work
September is a busy month, as it marks the end of summer holidays and the return to routine. For parents, juggling work while ensuring their children are set for the new school year can be a huge task. Employers need to recognise this seasonal shift and offer supportive structures that can help their workforce balance both worlds successfully.
Flexible working can be a game-changer here. Whether it’s flexitime, compressed hours, or remote working, these arrangements provide employees the scope to fulfil their parenting duties without compromising on professional responsibilities. After a year or more of remote work due to the pandemic, many businesses have the technology and systems in place to support this. However, a truly supportive, flexible working policy is not just about technology; it’s about creating a culture of trust and results-oriented evaluation.
From Policy to Practice
A starting point for any organisation is to review existing HR policies and determine if they are aligned with current workforce needs.
Are there policies that support work-life balance?
Do these policies consider parents who may need to drop off or pick up their kids from school?
Are they inclusive, catering to the needs of single parents and guardians?
Just having policies in place isn’t enough. The challenge is effective communication and implementation, which requires training for managers to handle a more flexible team effectively, evaluating productivity not by hours clocked but by results produced. Companies also need to think about creating environments that support remote work. This could mean providing necessary hardware, supporting mental health through virtual counselling, or offering contributions towards a home office setup.
Periodic review of these flexible working arrangements is crucial. Employers should collect feedback to understand the efficacy of these policies and make changes where necessary.
September also frequently marks the arrival of new employees. This is another area where a thoughtful HR policy can make a big difference. An effective onboarding process is critical in helping new hires integrate into the company culture and understand their role and responsibilities. A poor onboarding experience, on the other hand, can result in low employee engagement, reduced productivity, and potentially high turnover.
In times like these, businesses should consider developing robust digital onboarding programs, offering mentorship programs, and setting up initial one-on-ones with key team members, including those in leadership positions. Flexibility in training hours can also make new hires feel more welcome, especially if they are juggling multiple responsibilities outside of work.
The External HR Perspective
While companies can do a lot internally to implement these changes, the experience and perspective of an external HR company can be invaluable:
Leadership Mentoring and Coaching:
Especially useful when managing teams with flexible working arrangements. Leaders have to adapt to these new modes of working, and external support from specialists can help them to develop the skills required for this new era of work. Whether it’s effective remote team management, time management, or building a culture of trust, coaching sessions are designed to prepare your leaders for these challenges.
Crafting robust and inclusive flexible working policies ensures that your policies don’t just meet the statutory requirements but genuinely add value to your organisation by enhancing employee satisfaction and productivity.
New Staff Onboarding:
September often sees an influx of new starters, and a robust onboarding process is critical for their long-term retention and productivity. Refining your onboarding procedures, offering best practices for digital and in-person integration, and even providing mentorship for the new hires if desired, is a key benefit of using a HR company.
Periodic Reviews and Audits:
Implementing changes is one thing, but understanding their effectiveness is another. External HR companies can provide unbiased assessments of your policies, training initiatives, and onboarding processes. A consultative approach allows them to refine and recalibrate as needed, ensuring that your HR practices continue to serve your organisation well.
In conclusion, September is a critical month for both personal and professional new beginnings. By taking a proactive stance and implementing thoughtful, flexible policies, companies can make this transition smoother for everyone involved. The support of external HR companies, like us, can provide the necessary expertise and objectivity to make these changes not just feasible but highly successful.
For more information on how Phil Collier Associates can help you navigate the September shift, get in touch, the first consultation is free.