In a recent, annual survey carried out by GRM Search, interviewing over 500 HR professionals across South Africa, there was reassuring indication shown that flexible working solutions and other perks were not only on the increase but also changing the way business is being done.
And more improvement in working facilities and incentives were high on the list of changes contemplated in the year ahead.
GRM surveyed their database of C-suite and HR Directors to establish if change really is taking place and what effects these changes are having. Also, what plans, if any, were in place to incorporate further solutions to make the workplace a more inclusive place for peoples lives these days?
The survey established that 76% felt flexible working solutions and/or other perks currently offered by their company, resulted in better staff performances overall, with only 18% saying they feel very little improvement or change has occurred.
Out of those surveyed, 66.7% said they would not be adding any further perks or flexible solutions next year with 31.3% saying they would be. Of course, the reasoning could be that they feel they have sufficient to offer employees at this stage or, alternatively, restricted budgets could be a factor in cautious progress.
The three most frequent solutions offered to those completing the survey were: Maternity Leave (82.4%), Flexible Working Hours (62.7%) and many many firms now offering up to one year paid maternity leave.
Some solutions mentioned that were on track for introduction by some companies next year included more flexible working hours and conditions (including increased working from home), car and housing allowances, opportunities for studying and growth through training, hot desking, medical, pension, travel incentives, and bonus incentives to name a few.
However, a clear indication of the stressful business environment many of us find ourselves in was the frequent mention of improvement of working hours, wanting staff to feel “more relaxed and stress free”, and allowing staff an extra day off when overworked.
We all appreciate that gone are the days when everyone works from 9-5 with little deviation or understanding of an outside life. Employees often no longer need to be physically present in their place of work but can rather communicate effectively from home, across the world or wherever they happen to be thanks to the advancement of technology which sees us pretty much connected and contactable 24/7.
However, while we welcome what this affords us, it also means we seem to be constantly stressed and employers need to take cognisance of this. Companies need to offer, where possible, working solutions and perks to get the best out of those who working for them - they need to implement methods that make staff’s life easier while giving them the opportunity to do their best work. When this has been mastered, companies will most certainly benefit from the individual strengths potentially coming to the forefront while enjoying a greater appreciation of the specific talents and offerings of their people.
Not only does this create a happier working environment and relationship, it also means employees will be more motivated which of course means greater productivity. Aside from financial incentives, employees value perks and solutions that help make their lives a little easier, while giving them the ability to accomplish more at work. All in all, clearly a win-win for both employer and employee.
Rob Green is CEO of GRM.