When implementing a flexible work initiative, it’s important to remember that everyone in the organization has a role in its success. Whether working a flexible schedule or not, everyone must understand the importance of the policy and fulfill his or her role in supporting it. Flex education tailored to the myriad professionals with differing perspectives throughout the organization is key to the success of the flex policy.
At the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, we advise organizations to offer three different types of flexibility education customized for three different audiences within your organization:
Flex Professionals must understand their role and responsibilities. Educational components for flex professionals must encompass the importance of understanding exactly what is expected of the individual in the flex agreement. The flex professionals should be trained in the following skills:
- Articulating exactly what they hope to achieve through the flex schedule and what they intend to accomplish in their career development;
- Demonstrating commitment to their schedules and careers;
- Exploring realistic approaches to communications and face-time expectations;
- Providing workable solutions to devoting time to important aspects of career development including business development and organizational citizenship;
- Maintaining visibility even when physically out of the office;
- Leveraging technology;
- Handling bias.
Flex education for supervisors should focus on setting the tone for an inclusive environment. Supervisors must learn to take responsibility for ensuring that individuals who work flex have the support they need to be successful. In fact, we recommend that Supervisors be evaluated and compensated based on their contributions to the flex success. Supervisors should also be taught:
- How to provide those working flex the same access to career advancing work;
- How to remove bias from evaluations;
- How to judge professionals based on their work rather than their schedule.
Building a culture of flexibility hinges on changing attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of all individuals at all levels of the organization. Organization-wide education should focus on raising awareness of and teaching ways to interrupt flex stigma. This can be easily incorporated into an existing implicit bias training program. Everyone must understand how their perceptions of flexibility, how they talk about it and how their interactions with flex professionals influence the success of the organization’s commitment to flex.
Professionals working a flexible schedule are encouraged to register for the Flex Success® Institute, a five-part interactive virtual professional development program led by Alliance President and CEO Manar Morales. The first session is Thursday, June 22 so please register TODAY.