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A FAIR Employee Experience: Flexibility, Autonomy, Internal Mobility, and Relationships

29 June 2022

Significant changes continue to rock the business world, and employee priorities are shifting in response. Keeping up with the expectations of today’s employee is proving challenging for some organizations. To drive engagement, productivity, and growth, successful companies are recognizing the necessity for continuous awareness, improvement, workplace flexibility, and a FAIR employee experience.

F is for flexibility

Employees have a new “worth it” calculation for job hunting or considering a job change. In 2021, 18% of the workforce left their jobs, with the top reported reasons reflecting shifting employee priorities. Reported reasons for leaving include:

Employees are increasingly likely to look elsewhere if it means an opportunity for flexibility at work. High on the list of employer desirables are a positive work culture, benefits for mental health and well-being, meaningful work, flexible schedules, and virtual work options.

These elements of the employee experience might once have been luxury perks, but they are increasingly nonnegotiable features of the evolving workplace. Embracing flexibility creates a competitive advantage for employers in the current job market. Collaborate with your employees to develop flexible work agreements for mutual clarity regarding your organization’s needs in balance with the needs of your employees. Items for consideration may include:

Consensus enhances team agreement, so keep employees involved in designing flexible work options for a healthy work-life balance.

A is for autonomy

Autonomy at work is another primary influence on the employee experience. Guided autonomy is a FAIR dynamic in which employers and employees share both the responsibilities and the benefits of a trusting work environment. While employers provide structure, goals, company vision, and a general map for prioritizing assigned tasks, employees enjoy the ability to decide their own approach for completing work and contributing to company goals.

Outcome expectations are clear, work processes are transparent, and open communication is encouraged. Successful virtual work models embrace the principles of guided autonomy for good reason. Employees are empowered to be productive on their own terms while still meeting deadlines and other obligations. Organizations enjoy increased productivity, lower overhead, and access to an expanded pool of diverse, qualified candidates.

I is for internal mobility

Internal mobility is critical for bridging current skills and talent gaps and should be considered an essential element of your organization’s recruiting strategy. Internal mobility allows your team members to reskill and upskill to cover gaps in other departments, cross-collaborate, and take advantage of relevant learning and career development opportunities.

A clear policy ensuring employees an equitable opportunity for internal mobility is a strong selling point for talent recruiting and retention. Employees and job seekers are expressing a desire for more learning and career development — and a chance to explore leadership roles down the line. Team leaders can help employees create a FAIR career development plan that honors company and individual employee goals. Internal mobility policies maximize human resources, fill open positions faster, and reduce the expenses associated with finding, hiring, onboarding, and training new employees.

R is for relationships

A FAIR workplace dynamic also creates opportunities for relationship-building interaction among colleagues. With dispersed workforces and virtual workplaces, employees may sometimes feel isolated and out of touch with fellow team members. Encourage regular communication to maintain a cohesive team and a healthy employee experience for all involved.

Transformative, compassionate leadership is essential. Leaders must devise intentional change management strategies to create a positive dynamic in which employees consistently listen to one another, learn from a variety of different perspectives, empathize with their colleagues, and provide support for every team member. Creating a FAIR workplace for everyone requires effort and radical intention to ensure employees remain connected, engaged, purposeful, and productive.

Flexibility, autonomy, internal mobility, and healthy workplace relationships help to ensure a FAIR employee experience for your organization. To learn more, reach out to Fitch Consulting today.
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