For as long as I can remember the stigma that has been attached with recruitment is that you get in early and leave late, you work every hour that god sends and if you’re not succeeding it’s because you are not working hard enough and are not in the office enough…simple as that!
However, over the last few years as recruiters I’m sure most of us have all, at some stage, tried to convince a client, who perhaps can’t compete with the big corporate in terms of salaries, to try to compete instead in terms of offering flexible working or offering a better work life balance as that, Mr client, “is what today's candidate really wants nowadays…” However, when it comes to our own staff we seem to consistently reject that idea…”flexible working wouldn’t work in our industry”…”don’t be silly that’s not how recruitment works is it”…”nah it’ll never work”… “we have rules about that sort of thing don’t we, you have to be in the office so we know you are working!!”
These are the sort of sound bites that get you thinking as to why those great recruiters leave businesses after 5 or so years to join the smaller boutique agency or set up on their own? Perhaps they do require more flexible work patterns and after mastering their craft are after a better work life balance to continue to flourish…to continue to keep that fire burning brightly! Branson famously said “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to!” It occurs to me that perhaps in recruitment we are great at the 1st element of this but perhaps consistently fall a little short in the second!
It was that thinking that caused our management team to look in the mirror a little and prior to the unveiling of LHi we rolled out a survey across the business that asked all employees what they would like the business to “STOP” “START” and “CONTINUE” to do and an overwhelming response for things we should “START” to do is to look at how we could offer a greater flexibility in our working hours and to become more proactive in creating a better work/life balance for our consultants, something that perhaps for too long as an industry we have shied away from?
So with the official unveiling of LHi we also rolled out our new LHi work place benefit scheme, one aspect of this highlighted our new working practices:
Consultants are now able to work from home for a number of days a month.
All employees that need greater flexibility are able to agree reduced contracts such as 4 day/weeks rather than the traditional Monday to Friday, effectively offering another 52 days holiday a year!
Service targets are in play to obtain an LHi passport that allows employees to work for a week from any of our global offices all expenses paid.
Now this is very much early days for us as we are only in the first few months of LHi and our new working practices however the early signs are very encouraging with many employees really benefiting from the flexibility. Perhaps though more importantly there is a real feeling that as an employer LHi, more so now than ever, have their staffs best interest deep in the heart of its culture… arguably, it is only now that we are really starting to embrace the entirety of Branson’s famous slogan!
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.”