Flexible friends

MOST enlightened employers know that their best asset is their staff – the very people who inter-act with customers on a daily basis. It is why many are looking ahead with trepidation to 2015 according to a recent CBI survey. Though a majority expect to recruit additional employees because of the upturn in the economy, they are concerned that they will struggle to hire individuals of a requisite calibre.

Yet, while the urgent need for a closer correlation between schools and business to redress the skills shortage has been proven, it would be remiss of company bosses if they were not more relaxed, or lenient, when it comes to flexi-time. Though this is difficult for some firms, the inability of mothers to adjust their hours to reflect family needs is still proving a hindrance to those women who wish to resume their career, a point highlighted by the IPPR think-tank today.

However this issue is only going to become more pronounced as more mothers seek to balance their work and family obligations, hence the need for employees to embrace change where possible. For, if they do, the reward is likely to be a more motivated – and loyal – workforce that is prepared to go the extra mile as and when the need arises.

With care of the elderly also becoming a pressing problem, there is also much to learn from Germany’s Familienpflegezeit ‘family caring time’ scheme, which allows employees to reduce their working time (and income) over a fixed period in order to care for a dependant. It is the type of innovation that firms need to consider if they’re to recruit, and also retain, the very best staff in the future.