Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Add Value to business through Part-time employment

Do you remember those days when child care was a luxury and businesses had loyalty from their employees because the business supported their staff? These were the times when someone's career had one or two employers - anything more than that and you might be considered a 'flighty' employee.

Modern practices however are completely different. Child care is a problematic necessity and businesses still expect loyalty but give little support to gain it from their staff. Employees are now not giving loyalty and starting to adopt the same attitude; as expressed to me recently “the city's” view is that if you're in a role more than 2 or 3 years you are some how considered 'settled', 'not driven or stagnant' as an employment agency described it.

It is therefore easy to state that things have changed. Knowing what exactly has changed and why, is the purpose of this blog and the businesses opportunity.

The loyalty aspects within modern business is moving towards an equilibrium, as identified in my “Adding Value to business through Employees” blog.

The opportunity to an organisation is understanding the child care issue and how that's driving employees attitudes to work.

The changes I've mentioned have come about with the devaluation of the 'Home Keeper'. By that I mean the person managing and creating the home. The Home Keeper can be male or female, I'm not bothered but my point is, it has become a requirement and an expectation for families to have 2 incomes to support a home.

Consider, if a TV crew walked into a local pub or sports club and asked everyone to explain out loud their vocation, what reaction do you think would be given to men or women that said “I'm a house husband” or “I'm a house wife”?

Look at it from another angle, the same TV crew go into a office and ask everyone to state out loud how would they realistically structure their home life to be truly happy, what reaction do you think would be given to men or women that said, “I'd like to work part time, so I could look after the home, family and it would reduce my child care costs or at least give us more time with them”?

I'm sure you'll agree in both cases the majority of people would look alarmed or potentially consider them 'inferior' after the event.

It is fair to say that this is an observation of the times right now. However, businesses are becoming more considerate - valuing more flexible habits and “working from home” and introducing employee incentives (as previous mentioned in Adding Value to business through Employees).

So what has all this got to do with Part-time working Adding Value to Business? The answer is quite simply; employees with families would like the opportunity to go part time but are apprehensive at the reaction they might receive from employer and colleagues. These reactions might impact their career straight away or in the future. However from a business perspective part-time or job shared work is a fantastic opportunity misunderstood.

With part time or job shared work a business will gain:
[a] increased skills within the work place without increasing overheads,
[b] created flexibility for heavy periods, holidays, or cover during recruitment lag,
[c] stepped towards creating a responsible employer reputation,
[d] increased loyalty from staff,
[e] this loyalty encourages better internal support across departments,
[f] resulting in over all better productivity and profitability.

So why are employees so interested in finding responsible employers? Again the answer is quite simply family lifestyle but greatly because of child care costs. Families are being forced to choose how they start a family:
[a] not getting married to enable a single parent benefit claim,
[b] one in the home not working to claim more child care allowances,
[c] one in the home moving to part time employment and reduce the amount of child care,
[d] or a combination of the above to ensure a reasonable family lifestyle.

Some of you might be thinking, it couldn't happen today there's employment law support, enable and protect option [c] making it feasible. However, many businesses wont openly admit to not wanting part time or job shared employment. Therefore go to 'reasonable' lengths and efforts to defend that position; forcing the employee to find another job or struggle.

My point is to identify the current situation and highlight the role businesses can play to alleviate some of the problems whilst adding value to their business. Large organisations are less likely to change their ways and opinions, leaving the opporuntiy for SME's to add value to their business by capitalising on this demand.

In case there's a few of you still unconvinced about this point, think that we are most definitely in the age of responsibility both environmentally and socially. Then consider what a famous sportsman once said when asked why he was so successful at his sport he answered: “most people play where the ball is at but I play to where it is going!” Demand will eventually change the circumstances, it would good to get ahead of the game.

Responsible businesses is the requirement, part-time work is the demand and SME's have the opportunity to win in all areas without cost. I'd be interested to know those who agree and disagree with this blog.

If you want to get more on related blogs view “Adding Value to business through Employees” & “Business growth through Environmental & Partnership developments” or visit

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