Australian Government – Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations publish a research report that show that small business can benefit from Flexi work arrangement.
A small business with family friendly work arrangements can help attract and retain employees, including those who are not currently working. Research shows that mature age job seekers, people with caring commitments and workers with disabilities are more likely to seek jobs with flexible work arrangements. Increased staff retention can also reduce costs associated with employee turnover.
Flexible working can encompass a variety of different arrangements, such as:
- flexible start and finish times
- flexible rostering or scheduling
- flexible leave arrangements
- regular part-time work
- flexible part time job
- make up time
- rostered days off
- regular or occasional working from home
- nine day fortnights/compressed working week
Studies have indicated that introducing flexible work practices has a number of advantages for employers, such as an improved ability to attract existing employees as well as people not currently in the workforce. Mature age job seekers, people with caring commitments and workers with disabilities are more likely to seek employment with flexible working arrangements. Other advantages of using flexible work practices include:
- recognition as an 'employer of choice'
- greater staff loyalty and higher return on training investment
- a better match between peaks and troughs in workloads and staffing
- reduced absenteeism and staff turnover
- improved productivity
- reduced stress levels and improved morale
- potential for improved occupational health and safety records
- assisting compliance with anti-discrimination and workplace relations laws
Employers generally want to employ the best staff they can and no employer likes to lose valuable staff. Replacing staff takes up resources in terms of time and money and there is a cost in loss of continuity and business knowledge.
In an organisation without flexible work practices, the pool of talent may become smaller as potential job candidates opt out of the running, preferring to work for a company which allows arrangements such as part-time work, job sharing or work from home.
Current employees, too, may decide to leave a company which is lagging behind on flexible work policies. For example, employees who are looking to phase in their retirement may leave the company to work on a self-employed basis or for an employer prepared to offer less than full-time hours. People with disabilities may simply require a job re-design, to allow for greater flexibility in work loads and times, the ability to work from home or access flexible leave arrangements.
Research has indicated that the more experienced the staff member, the more it will cost to replace that person if they leave. As a rule of thumb, it is generally accepted that replacing an experienced employee costs around one and half times their salary. Costs are incurred through paying out a leaving staff member’s entitlements, advertising a position, conducting a selection process and training the new staff member. Additional costs will be incurred through factors such as lost experience and corporate knowledge, lack of consistent service and customer relationships and the general impact of staff turnover on the work environment.
Studies show that Companies can significantly reduce their staff turnover and the costs associated with it by introducing and promoting flexible work practices. These practices do not have to be prescriptive and difficult. There is a wide range of flexible work arrangements which can be introduced to an organisation, with little or no cost.