Washington (May 7, 2009) – Workplace flexibility initiatives for hourly employees are as successful as those designed for professional staff. And businesses that offer hourly employees flexible work options find that they are critical management tools that enhance recruitment, retention, engagement, cost control, productivity and financial performance.
Corporate Voices for Working Families released the study, Innovative Workplace Flexibility Options for Hourly Workers, this morning following remarks at its annual meeting in Washington by Michelle Obama. The First Lady talked to the gathering of business leaders about the importance of work-life programs to working families and to the competitiveness of American business.
“Recent research about the value of workplace flexibility has focused primarily on management and professional workers. This study demonstrates that, when available, flexibility can be as beneficial or even more beneficial to hourly workers and the businesses that employ them,” Donna Klein, President and Founder of Corporate Voices, said.
Highlights of the key findings of the report include:
• Managers and employees agree that flexibility has positive benefits and adds value for the business and for the individual employee in key areas involving productivity, customer service, employee work-life effectiveness, stress and well-being.
• For businesses, flexible schedules are an effective means of managing personnel costs, in particular overtime costs, which is a win-win for employees and employers.
• More than 80 percent of employers and employees surveyed say flexibility is important to recruitment and retention.
• In childcare, where there is a shortage of qualified early childhood teachers, flexible work options represents a key management strategy to recruit and retain individuals who are committed to their profession and to tap a wider labor pool than might be possible if the business offered a more limited work schedule.
• Companies have found that offering flexible schedules and innovative time-off policies contribute to being an “employer of choice” for younger workers in their competitive labor market.
• For positions in customer service and sales with typically high turnover, companies find that flexibility is a way to keep high-performing employees both in the short term and the long term. These companies use flexibility to respond to the changing needs of their workers at various stages of their lives and careers—going back to school, raising a family, or to retain mature workers.
• Flexible work options are being used in businesses with continuous operations that need weekend coverage or whose business hours extend beyond a 9 to 5 eight-hour day. This includes voluntary part-time positions as well as flextime and compressed work schedules.
“In this study, we find that it is not only formal flexible arrangements that produce these impressive results but progressive personnel policies and a work culture supportive of occasional flexibility that give workers access to a variety of time-off options and control over their work schedules,” Klein said. “When companies provide employees with an array of flexibility and time-off options and an environment in which it is possible to access flexibility opportunities without barriers, employees develop their own strategies to use the options that best meet their individual needs and satisfy business requirements.”
About the Study
Innovative Workplace Flexibility Options for Hourly Workers was researched and written by WFD Consulting and was supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The data for this report come from several sources: review of company business information concerning flexibility policies and results, a quantitative survey, and qualitative focus groups and interviews. The survey was conducted primarily online with over 200 managers and approximately 1,300 lower wage, non-exempt and hourly workers who utilize flexibility. A small comparison sample was included of about 130 employees who perform comparable jobs in the same companies but do not use flexibility. Twenty-five focus groups (21 groups with employees and 4 groups with managers) and 25 interviews were conducted with middle and senior level HR and line managers; in addition in one organization, six individual interviews were conducted with first level managers in place of a focus group.
The report also includes case studies involving the following participating companies: Bright Horizons, Marriott International, PNC, Proctor & Gamble and a consumer goods manufacturer.
The complete report and an executive summary are available on the Corporate Voices for Working Families Web site at www.cvworkingfamilies.org
About Corporate Voices for Working Families
Corporate Voices for Working Families is the leading national business membership organization representing the private sector on public and corporate policy issues involving working families. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, we improve the lives of working families by developing and advancing innovative policies that reflect collaboration among the private sector, government and other stakeholders.
To create bipartisan support for issues affecting working families, we facilitate research in areas spotlighting the intersecting interests of business, community and families: workforce readiness, family economic stability and flexibility in the workplace.
Collectively our 50 partner companies, with annual net revenues of more than $1 trillion, employ more than 4 million individuals throughout all 50 states.
For Corporate Voices for Working Families