Time Is Important To You, Right? It’s Important To Your Employees, Too: 3 Ways To Explore Flexible Work Policies

When I was a young corporate worker, we could hardly mention we had families, much less request time off for a child’s baseball game.

I don’t regret working a bit. It made me a better parent.

But if I hadn’t been so worried about what my employer might think if I left the office early, I would have spent more time with family.

How things have changed.

Now, we celebrate the fact that families come first for our workers. And we recognize, and appreciate, that families come in all shapes, sizes, and iterations. Naturally, that means that different people have different needs surrounding their schedules.

Workers today expect flexibility when it comes to balancing their work obligations with family time and their personal lives. Parents want to be both involved with their kids and their careers. They not only feel good about leaving the office to attend a dance competition, they wouldn’t dream of missing it.

And people without children expect to get the same considerations for their personal lives—family gatherings, time with partners, and time to recharge—as their colleagues with children.

The reality is this: The practice working and being available to answer questions or tend to work-related emergencies at all hours of the day and night—the one we practiced for decades—is unsustainable.

Today’s workers are still getting a lot of work done, but they’re happier doing it when they can have some control over their schedules. Plenty of workers thrive within a structured environment, of course, but research also suggests that workers with flexible schedules enjoy increased productivity.

How can you keep up a healthy work culture around scheduling at your office?

Offer Off-Site Options

Telecommuting allows workers to work from home, or any other location. As technology becomes more refined and powerful, these options become easier for workers and employers to manage. Workers appreciate the option and are just as productive—maybe even more so. If your company culture depends on in-person interactions, consider giving employees off-site options one or two days each week and requiring in-office work the rest of the time.

If you’re concerned about employee availability, make sure you and your employee communicate about the specific expectations that go along with remote work arrangements. It might be a good idea to roll a discussion into their quarterly review and to check in often about how the schedule is working, for everyone involved.

Change Expectations Around The Office

Even if you can’t offer your employees remote working options all the time, make an internal assessment to determine what might work. Consider technological tools such as video conferencing to allow some workers to participate from a remote location.

Look at whether flexible start and end times—for particular workers or the whole office—would ease the burden of school drop-offs or evening activities.  Consider an open office format that allows workers to move freely instead of requiring them to work from one cubicle or desk location.

Focus On Commitment

Experiment with new company policies that put the focus on the work and commitment of employees instead of time. Companies in some industries use flex time in the office, flexible vacation schedules, and flex locations. You may also consider creating job-sharing opportunities.

Clearly, some roles require attendance, such as construction work, firefighting, or Cinderella at Disney World. But in an office environment, flexible scheduling policies can be a key to increased employee loyalty and productivity.


Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful.Alexander Kjerulf

Corporate Skills Training is the New Black

The skills shortage in the corporate jobs arena isn’t going away anytime soon. But there’s a silver lining. The skills deficit is an opportunity for your company to become even more attractive to current and potential employees. By implementing an employer-based skills training program, you can give your company an edge by increasing employee retention and strengthening your brand.

According to The New Talent Landscape, a study by the Society for Professional Resource Management, basic and applied skills among workers are in shorter supply now than they were 12 months ago.
Human resources professionals reported that workers are less proficient in basic skills: they make more grammar and spelling errors, for instance, and are less familiar with computers, even tools as basic as a mouse.

Applied skills deficits are even more pronounced. The most endangered among job applicants were critical thinking/problem-solving, professionalism/work ethic, leadership, written communications and teamwork/collaboration.

What can you do?

Take a good look at this list and use it as a blueprint for an employer-based training program.
Helping your current employees sharpen their skills, in-house or through a collaboration with a third-party educational group, will fuel employee engagement and bulk up your retention plan. If you show employees that you’re willing to invest in their future and that you care about their ability to achieve success, they’ll be more likely to repay you by staying around, adding value to your company.

In addition to a more skilled and prepared staff, you may find that you can fill more roles internally. The report states that the most effective approach is to “train existing employees to take on hard-to-fill roles.” Win-win.

To create a program, look into conferences, workshops, seminars, webinars or bring in a trainer who can customize skills training that will be valuable for everyone.

“An engaged workforce can drive financial performance. Studies have shown that employees who are truly engaged are more likely to stay and contribute to the organization.”

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic

Be Very Brave. 2018 Could be Better Than You Think.

These days just clicking on a news app in the morning feels like an act of courage. The news can explode between pouring your breakfast cereal and kissing your kids goodbye.

No matter how you earn your living, you’re likely looking not only at the headlines but at the intersection between current affairs and your industry.

In the world of corporate job searches, for instance, we’re keenly aware of a recent report which found that more than half of American workers didn’t get a raise in the past year. But, it appears that not all news is bad news. We’ve heard whispers that the bull market may not be coming to an end, as many had feared, and even predictions that growth is “likely to remain above potential and the unemployment rate is likely to continue to drop.”

No way around it: Last year was a roller coaster. What does it mean for the job market? And what will happen in 2018?

No one has a crystal ball, but combing through predictions for the new year there’s a lot of promise out there, particularly in finance and IT.

Let’s take a look.

There’s a lot of potential in IT

In 2018 there will be continued growth in areas such as IT modernization, intelligence-driven enterprise and data security. This will be particularly true in government, where agencies are updating old systems and transitioning to more stable infrastructures.

Candidate shortages abound

If you’re a software engineer, you’re in luck. By some estimates, employers may be paying up to 20% more to attract and retain top talent. And there are still shortages of data scientists, information security analysts and HR talent. The long-term forecast for biomedical engineering looks strong, too. If you’re in one of these industries, 2018 may be your lucky year.

Market forecasts can be scary…

…but they’re still just forecasts. Unemployment is way down and corporate America is still expected to “keep earning in spades,” according to a recent analysis. Watch for opportunities in high-level positions in finance, including CFOs, tax accountants, accounting managers, financial analysts, internal audit directors and controllers.

People are creatures of the future—we naturally look ahead. This year, resolve to do so with courage and an eye for opportunity


The Case for Holiday Job Hunting: 3 Reasons to Keep Up the Search

Taking a break from your job search during the holidays may seem like just the thing you need to help you start again with new energy in January.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a breather. But be aware that many job seekers opt to postpone their job searches this time of year.

Seize the moment. Instead of taking the month off, treat December as the most important month to get your name out there. It will open up new possibilities that may not exist at other times of the year.

Here are 3 reasons to keep going!

In-person Networking Opportunities are Unmatched

There will be a ridiculous number of parties and get-togethers this month. You know who will be there? People who work for companies that are hiring. Holiday parties are a golden opportunity to keep people up-to-date on your search and find out what jobs are available.

Worried about small talk? Don’t be. If you’re between jobs, the best thing you can do is show up, have fun, and let people know you’re out there, motivated and looking.

It’s a Natural Time to Reach Out

The season of giving and reflection is a perfect time to send a card. Drop a handwritten note of thanks and holiday cheer in the mail to keep your name in front of your best contacts and potential employers.

Or invite the people who have helped you in your search to a low-key event at a favorite restaurant. A conversation over mulled wine or sticky toffee pudding – or both! – could give you the lead you’re looking for.

Companies are Motivated to Hire in December

Even this late in the year, hiring managers still need to schedule interviews and fill open positions. In fact, many companies are scrambling to spend “use-it-or-lose-it” funds by filling open roles. If they don’t get it done by the end of the year, they risk losing the opportunity to hire.

December is just the time to make yourself even more visible and available, and just when employers need candidates to show up. Keep reaching out, applying, following up and interviewing, and you and a new employer may be toasting each other in the New Year.

“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.” William Arthur Ward