SINGAPORE - Flexible working is a highly effective tool for achieving greater diversity at the workplace, and should be implemented sooner rather than later and offered to all employees, according to global recruitment firm Hays.
A diverse and inclusive organisation will offer flexible working at the point of hire, rather than later in employment, said Hays.
Its group head of people and culture, Ms Sandra Henke, said: "Historically, flexible working has been the domain of mothers balancing childcare with returning to work, or a privilege earned through hard work and company loyalty, rather than an optional working practice. In order to achieve true inclusion within a business, flexibility must be offered to all employees, creating 'family-friendly' policies in place of 'female-friendly' policies.
"Organisations which embrace more agile working practices will give themselves greater employee engagement and retention, as well as the advantage of a wider talent pool to choose from."
According to Hays, to ensure that flexible working options are properly implemented, organisations need to invest in effective communication of different working practices.
Added Ms Henke: "As senior management and business leaders are fundamental in advancing under-represented demographics in the workplace, they need to be properly informed about what their organisation can offer, actively promote it to professionals and where possible, lead by example themselves. Communication from your employers about available working options is extremely conducive to recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce."
The company also noted that by excluding certain members of the workforce, organisations are not only limiting the potential pool of workers they can choose from, but also the diversity of thought.
"A balanced, well managed team can deliver huge benefits to a business. It can strengthen the foundations for a broader talent pool, and encourage the creation and exchange of fresh ideas and experiences between colleagues and customers," Hays noted.
It added that greater inclusion in the workplace can also increase employee loyalty, trust and longevity. All these will ultimately make a business stronger, and more productive, Hays said.