Enthusiastic, passionate, knowledgeable and strategic are a few words to describe, Kyra Cavanaugh, work-life consultant and president of Life Meets Work. She is an expert in flexibility and here are her words of wisdom regarding the status and future of flexibility,
I asked her what the upsides of flexibility vs. doing nothing are:
Flexibility is a tool to achieve strategic objectives. It helps organizations meet bottom line objectives such a growth, customer loyalty, sustainability and more.
It’s not about being nice – it’s about survival.
Regarding employers being more or less resistant to implementing flexibility, she said:
Employers are more open to the idea. But they’re coming at flex as a way to solve other problems. For example, taking time to care for a sick child isn’t flexibility for them, it’s a workforce reality.
When asked if employers are well educated on the benefits of flexibility, she said NO:
“Many still think it’s a Human Resources program, a benefit or perk. But it’s not, it’s a business strategy. We have a ways to go in helping them understand that.”
Kyra says that work sharing to solve the employment issues hasn’t taken hold yet. It is at the bottom of the list. However there are some examples of condensed work week and unpaid days off.
Kyra’s thoughts on the future of flex options are exciting.
It is projected that in 2020 employers will need to go where the people are. The talent shortage occurring now will continue and employers will have to meet the needs of employees -–talent management and flexibility will have to merge. Employers will need to reach out to the diverse population. Flexibility is going to help them tap a much broader talent pool including returning veterans, part-timers, and boomers transitioning into retirement.
Kyra cited Ryan LLC as an organization that has changed culture and embracing flexibility. As a tax accounting firm in a very competitive industry, they were losing people. The CEO, Mr. Brent, didn’t do this to be nice -– but, rather to retain and recruit talent. As a result when they shifted to being performance driven rather than to “where and when” approach, their metrics went up significantly. 80% of their recruits say that flexibility was crucial to their joining the organization.
I asked about the correlation between happiness and flexibility. She said people who use flexibility are much happier. They have the time to exercise, sleep, and work-family conflicts are down. Less commuting is also a factor for less stress.