Work Flexibility as Competitive Advantage

September 24, 2013 by Wally Bock

For three straight years, my daughter broke a bone on the first day of school. You know what that meant. Someone had to leave work and go get her, take her to the emergency room, and then back to school.

If you’re a parent, and you want to do things right, you need flexibility. Infants and toddlers need constant care and attention. Elementary schools are like a giant, permanent, epidemiological experiment. Lovely children grow into teenagers who can create novel reasons for you to stop work and tend to parenting business.

Now consider this. A Mom Corps survey of over 2000 adults found that more than half of the 18 to 44 year old people they surveyed have left or considered leaving a job over the issue of flexibility.

If you’re looking for critical factors that will help you attract and retain top talent, add flexibility to the list. It won’t do the job alone. You’ll still need competitive salary, good benefits, and the promise of development, but flexibility can be a key difference maker.

There are two kinds of flexibility. One is the day to day flexibility that will allow people who work for you to take time to deal with the inevitable little crises of life. The other is the flexibility to take large chunks of time away, for family issues or a sabbatical for example, and not have to go to the back of the line in career development.

You may not have much choice. That generation with plenty of talent you want, just might not accept anything else.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Selection

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