What Top Employees Really Want: 5 Hints


What do employees want? When Work Works, the joint partnership of SHRM and Families and Work Institute (FWI) can help you answer this key question.

Here are our top five hints. They want 1) work-life fit, even on factory floors, 2) advice on how to speak with managers about flexible work options (workflex), 3) companies that create effective and flexible workplaces, 4) employers who walk the talk when it comes to workflex, and 5) help, particularly male employees, dealing with family caregiver responsibilities.

1. Work-Life Fit, Even on Factory Floors

Manufacturing employers of all sizes often face difficulties finding enough talent to take on factory jobs that are often rigid as far as scheduling because workers need to be onsite to make the products. That’s why smart companies are offering new and innovative ways to make these jobs more flexible.

How do you support the work-life needs of production employees and, in turn, keep turnover low and attract new talent?

Workflex and Manufacturing Guide: More Than a Dream is your starting place for understanding what flexibility really means for manufacturers and how to help employees succeed both on and off the job. This guide—just released and available for free download now—describes the many types of flexibility that make sense for manufacturing and will help move the workflex conversation at your organization beyond just telework and individualized schedules.

Want to know more? Join a free webcast on May 13: Manufacturing and Workflex

This webcast will show you how with real-life examples from factory floors. We move beyond rehashing what doesn’t work in manufacturing and explore new ways of thinking about flexibility at work and how you can support your organization’s and employees’ goals given the unique realities of manufacturing workplaces.

Going to SHRM Annual? Join When Work Works on June 28 at the SHRM 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas at the Attracting and Retaining Talent in Manufacturing pre-conference workshop for an interactive discussion of how to design effective talent management practices that can reinvent work for greater flexibility among production line employees.

2. Advice on How to Speak With Managers about Flexible Work Options

One of the biggest hurdles, when it comes to creating a flexible work environment, is the lack of communication regarding work-life issues between supervisors and employees.

Employees can now take the promise of flexibility at work into their own hands. The Workflex Employee Toolkit offers workers a blueprint for making workflex a reality in their careers, and it provides a realistic perspective on what workflex options are possible for the companies that employ them. It features real-world advice and guidance from workplace experts including self-assessment tools, directions on how to ask for workflex and how-to’s on making it work once implemented. It’s a valuable workflex resource for every worker and manager striving for flexibility at work.

3. Companies That Create Effective and Flexible Workplaces

Smart employers aren’t sitting back and letting burnout, work-life conflict, the skills gap or a host of other workplace challenges impact their bottom lines. If this is your workplace, the best way to get the word out to employees is to become an employer of choice.

The When Work Works Award is one of the nation’s most prestigious workplace honors, recognizing employers who have created effective workplaces based on six components: autonomy; work-life fit; supervisor support for work success; satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement; opportunities for learning; and a culture of trust. The Award—part of the When Work Works partnership between FWI and SHRM—provides employers with national bragging rights along with media attention for effective work policies and practices as well as inclusion in a searchable database employees nationally can access to find out the best of the best employers. All applicants receive a free benchmarking report on workplace effectiveness and flexibility, based on their application, comparing their responses to other Award applicants, winners and nationally representative samples of employers.

The next round for the awards starts August 17, 2015. Click here for more information.

4. Employers Who Walk the Talk When it comes to Workflex

There’s a lot of talk about creating flexible workplaces out there, but talking about flexibility isn’t the same as actually offering such options to employees. Even if you’ve got such policies on the books, employees who don’t see actual help with their work-life fit can end up less productive—or worse, end up leaving for another job.

Want to know how work-life friendly your workplace really is?

It comes down to whether you offer workflex or not. Flexible work policies—everything from telecommuting to job sharing to part time to phased retirement to shift shifting, etc.—can set you apart from other employers.

The Workflex Assessment—based on the prestigious When Work Works Award—is a free online questionnaire that will let you know how you stack up. It takes about 15 minutes to do and you get your score immediately upon completion.

Take the free assessment here.

5. Help, Particularly Male Employees, Dealing With Family Caregiver Responsibilities

Images of an aging parent being cared for by a doting daughter are universal. But there’s more to the caregiving picture.

Although many see caregiving responsibilities as the domain of women, it turns out slightly more working men than working women provided some sort of elder care in the last five years, according to a study recently released by FWI.

The Older Adult Caregiver Study, which provides a snapshot of the caregiving issues facing both working and non-working individuals, found that two-thirds (66%) of family caregivers reported being employed while providing care in the past five years; and, among those providing care, 51% were men and 49% were women. Overall, including those who are employed and unemployed, more women in the study (65%) provided care than men (56%), but the percentage of caregivers who are working is slightly more male in this study.

For more information on workflex visit www.whenworkworks.org or www.shrm.org/workflex and follow @WhenWorkWorks



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