Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
25 Oct 2011

Are you a flexible employer?

25 Oct 2011 • by Changeboard Team

How flexible are you?

In light of this, Hays and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) are calling on the Government to fundamentally rethink its approach to employment law in order to bolster workplace flexibility and foster better employment relations.

Thinking Positive: the 21st century employment relationship, the CBI’s first digital report produced in association with Hays, explores how the employment relationship at work has changed. In particular, it demonstrates how the recession increased the need for flexibility from both parties, resulting in has stronger partnerships between employees and employers as businesses adapted to more challenging environments. 

Flexibility played a key role during the downturn, allowing employers to minimise job losses by implementing practices such as shorter working weeks and reduced hours. Instead of making large-scale redundancies, organisations took the sensible step of working with existing staff to create new ways of working and more flexible arrangements. Through practical and adult communication, employers retained valuable skills and kept experienced people in the business who would otherwise have been lost.

Review policies

There is now a huge opportunity for the government to build on the success of this by embedding this flexible approach into future employment law and in the critical Employment Law Review. Rather than automatically opting for legislation, the government would be wiser to specify what needs to be achieved and set out suggested processes for employers in more flexible guidance or codes of practice. 

There are already some positive signs that the government plans to reduce regulation - vital for organisations to grow in an economic environment that remains problematic - as well as improving the tribunals system. But there are still new policies that have reduced this much-cherished and new flexibility. Examples of this include abolishing the Default Retirement Age without addressing the need for employers to have protected conversations about retirement plans and gold plating the Agency Workers Directive, which includes extra process costs for employers, not required under European law.

Download the report

More and more professionals are seeking flexibility in their working lives and careers, as they look to juggle work with other commitments. Many employers are willing to explore this, but may be hampered by an excess of red tape. And this isn’t just a matter for the private sector. There is an enormous opportunity across both sectors to introduce more flexible working arrangements to build better relationships with staff while tackling budget reductions. 

Together, employers and the government can create the right environment to help foster this new approach to workplace relations.

Click to view the full report: Thinking Positive: the 21st century employment relationship