Flexible Hiring Makes Business Sense At Hotwire

hotwireIt is easy to take things for granted, to stop seeing something special for what it is. So I was taken aback recently to hear a friend say that flexible working could never work in her organisation. She explained that people weren’t supportive of part time working, not willing to hold a meeting on a Thursday instead of a Friday, grumbling if someone left early, no matter what time they had started that morning. In a world of endless technology platforms promising the ability to work anywhere, anytime, can these sort of attitudes really be tolerated?

I asked her how she felt about it. She said that she knew there was no future for her there, that she would have to leave because it could never accommodate the life she wanted to live.

And there it is. My friend is awesome. She’s talented and bright, she’s committed and focused and she brings huge value to her company. And they’re going to lose her because of an outdated attitude towards how people should work.

So when I think about flexible working, I feel lucky to work in a company where it’s part of the fabric of the business. We’ve had flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home from the very beginning. We offer a paid sabbatical after four years’ service, because – you know – there is more to life than work. There’s travelling, writing novels, volunteering…seeing your kids..?! We have part time employees who are, of course, treated the same as their full time colleagues, with all the same progression opportunities. That’s because they contribute just as much and are just as talented. And we work around them when we need to, without giving it a thought.

What we haven’t done (in part because we assumed our approach is just how everyone operates!) is shout about these opportunities at the point of hire. When we spoke to Timewise about Hire Me My Way, it dawned on us that we may have been missing a trick. When my friend leaves her company, she will be looking for a more forward thinking business to join. There are lots of us out there, but how do you find them? If you’re used to an environment where flexible working is considered an inconvenience and part time employees are second class citizens, how do you ask about flexibility during an interview?

There is a huge opportunity in a really competitive talent market to tap into a group of people who are often overlooked. We’re really happy that Timewise is helping us do this. We want to let everyone know that the door is open and they are welcome. I would be lying if I said we could accommodate every request, but we will always be willing to have the conversation. And if we can build a role around someone amazing and talented, why wouldn’t we?

Working flexibly is part of who we are and now we’re making sure this is clear from the first time someone hears about us. It makes sense for us as a business.  It means we get to work with these brilliant people and we’re not missing out on talent. It means our team feels valued because they’re treated like grown-ups, trusted to organise their time and make decisions in the best interest of the business. And this makes a difference. It means our team is engaged, happier and less stressed as they can take control and take care of all their responsibilities, at home as well as at work. For me, that doesn’t just mean going to my child’s sports day or working from home to get the washing machine fixed. It also means an early finish for everyone every Friday, because getting a head start on the weekend matters too.

This is important to us as a company, a team of individuals who are all unique and are balancing different things at different times. It makes sense in a bigger way too, because if we give part time and flexible workers the same status and opportunities as their colleagues, and we make these opportunities open to everyone equally, then we’re making the world a fairer, more equal place…and this can only be a good thing, right?

By Matt Cross, Hotwire UK Managing Director

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