The key thing is to start with the end goal in mind. You buy a piece of equipment to meet a specific need. In the same way, you should bring in the human resource that will most quickly and efficiently allow you to reach your future goals. The core of this is Intelligent Resourcing planning.
Only by proactively designing the individual roles will you attract the individuals who can help you reach your business goals. For many businesses, deviation from the full-time employee model comes when a valued member of staff knocks on a manager’s door requesting flexible working. Reluctant to lose the services of a key employee, managers are on the back foot and agree to them working reduced hours without really thinking it through.
This is a reactive rather than pro-active approach. What if the role that the staff member performs really isn’t feasible on a part-time basis? The new working arrangements may suit the employee but could be a bad solution for the business.
Thinking ‘outside the box’ can bring benefits as well
This is where a more proactive approach comes in – looking more broadly and assessing whether all roles can be restructured so that they can all flex – looking at whether roles can be split into smaller specialisations what will more naturally suit part-time working. Looking at whether roles are actually project based or repeat tasks as this can have a bearing on how they should be structured.
Talking to experts in resource planning will throw up some interesting options that you might not otherwise have thought about. For example, when businesses are in the permanent full-time hire mode, they will design job roles to fill a working week. That can lead to job descriptions that cover more than one skill set – often a less than optimal strategy.
An obvious example would be the Sales and Marketing Director role. Inevitably an individual will be better at one aspect of that job than the other which is not a good outcome for the business. If you are able to take a different approach and hire two people – a sales specialist and a marketing specialist – who will work two and a half days each, you will end up with the services of an expert in both areas for the same price. And two brains are almost always better than one.
With this approach, businesses can:
- Have the right people at the time when you need them
- Get specialists for each area
- Avoid paying for staff when you don’t need them
- Deal with hiring mistakes more easily and cheaply
- Bring in experts you thought you wouldn’t be able to afford
- React rapidly to changing business circumstances and requests for flexibility
- More effectively tailor staff structure to the needs of the business
- Take advantage of the large pool of freelancers / part-timers who can flex around the needs of your business.
- Staff up in a way that is both cost effective and results driven
Once you start thinking about your human resource function from a strategic perspective, it not only allows you to get it right for the business as it is now but also to plan for how it will look in the future. Embracing the flexible model and introducing agile working opens up a world of possibilities.