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Communication matters

The offer of an array of benefits and the various availments of employees may entail cost more than monetary remuneration. But this variance, if any, would be thoroughly evaluated against the intangible benefits that the program could deliver in the long term. Laying down the foundations of the flexible working program is only the first step. Its implementation is the next step to be undertaken by HR and a lot of communication matters.

The program, just like any other HR program needs to be understood by the employees to ensure that the goals upon which flexible working are founded would be achieved. In the past and up to the late 90’s, companies offer almost the same compensation package to employees. This usually consist of the monetary value of the work done and benefits, tangible or intangible. In many instances, there are benefits granted to employees which are not readily appreciated as they do not mean anything to the concerned employees. One example is the retirement benefit.

This benefit is attractive to people who are nearing the retirement age but not to the younger set of employees. In this case, no matter what amount is pegged into this retirement benefit, a young employee

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does not get motivated by it as it is not an immediate gratification. The concept of flexible working is the granting of benefits that are readily attractive to particular groups of employees. Thus, when they are recruited by the company, they can avail of this benefit and it gives the employee some pride in having that privilege.

Another factor that is beneficial to an employee where flexible working is where couples are both employees and they receive the same benefits. There is duplicity but there is no allowance for taking advantage of both benefits. There is no hard and fast rule in ascertaining the need and acceptability of a flexible working condition to the company. What may be applicable to one organization may not be true to another company. The gap may be due to cultural diversity, gender, and demographic profile of employees.

The benefits of a flexible working program may be summed up as one – work life balance and continuous improvement of work productivity. The first is the benefit that goes to the employee while the second is the benefit that goes to the employer. It is a give-and-take scheme aimed at one goal – growth of the business. Paul Backhouse wrote in his article on Flexible working: Flexible working can deliver benefits to employers and employees alike.

Staff is able to balance the competing commitments of work and home life, while flexible shift patterns can support the needs of the business and make for a more diverse workforce. (Backhouse p2). Employee retention and motivation are the intangible fruits of flexible working. Employees are attracted to the compensation package thus any intention of leaving the company is nil. Since the employee feels gratified for the work done in the company due to the attractive compensation he receives month in and month out, he is motivated for work and productivity is not compromised.

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