Flexibility the key to winning the talent war

Talent management is one of the biggest challenges facing modern companies.

by IESE Insight
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

According to a new report from IESE, when it comes to attracting and retaining talented employees, flexibility is becoming increasingly important. In the Guide to Good Practices for the Flexible, Responsible Company, IESE professor Nuria Chinchilla and her collaborator, researcher Consuelo Leon, argue that work, family and personal life are fundamental, non-negotiable, complementary dimensions of all human beings.

To reconcile these dimensions, the authors argue, solutions must be found in several areas: political, corporate, family, social and individual. Companies that are serious about being more flexible need to go beyond merely offering flexi-time, but also offer practical solutions such as decent housing and day care.

The report claims that in coming years the talent war is set to become more fierce. It cites the IFREI 2006 (IESE Family-Responsible Employer Index), which found that the biggest problem for large companies is difficulty in finding key employees (45%), followed by absenteeism (36%), low initiative among employees and scarce geographical mobility (30%), lack of commitment (20% ) and stress leave (7%).

According to Chinchilla and Leon, two issues play a decisive role in recruiting and holding on to talent: policies that reconcile work with family and personal life, and "mental salary" or compensation measured against quality of life. The bad news is that there is no template to achieve this: every company will have to design its policies in accordance with its nature and the type and size of its activities.

Companies need to have a complete reconciliation plan (CRP) and reconciliation policies to foster an organisational culture that is genuinely flexible and responsible, the report argues. It specifies ten steps to becoming an Flexible and Responsible Company: 1) get commitment from upper management; 2) appoint a reconciliation committee/coordinator to be responsible for the project; 3) perform a self diagnosis of the company to see what phase it is in; 4) gather information about the needs of the employees studied; 5) prepare a CRP that includes policies and facilitators; 6) prepare a manual for applying policies, leadership and examples of upper management, with training for executives and middle managers; 7) integrate family values into the corporate mission; 8) deploy policies and actions adapted to different groups; 9) communicate these, starting with the announcement of the plan by upper management; and, lastly, 10) implement them.

The guide to good practices for the flexible, responsible company
Nuria Chinchilla and Consuelo Leon
IESE Insight

Review by: Nick Loney

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