Keynote speaker Marisa Williams, from PwC, and five flexible working experts share their practical approaches on how to embed a now crucial, post-pandemic smart working culture.
Our fourth Flexible Working Action Learning Group was hosted by Emma Cleary of Sussex based recruitment agency Flexibility Matters who, for the past 7 years, has been helping businesses build sustainable teams with flexible workers. Emma explains: “The idea of a hybrid and flexible approach to work has been propelled forward due to the pandemic, so the discussion now is not whether it’s embraced, but how?”
Leading the way with a set of actions, based on their own trials, the Action Learning Group revealed some golden nuggets on smart working implementation. Testament to the relevancy of the topic, over 70 participants benefited from the session which included breakout room discussions for drilling down to the detail.
Keynote speaker Marisa Williams, PwC’s Talent Acquisition and Flexible Careers Network Lead, began by sharing their 22,000-employee strong journey. Commencing in 2017 with a company-wide smart working initiative that empowered employees to decide when and where they worked best led to the launch of ‘Everyday Flexibility’ in 2018. The completely inclusive initiative followed key principles as success drivers: Working differently not less, communication is key, not one size fits all and personal responsibility.
With 2019 being the catalyst to a significant rise in people needing to work differently, ‘The Flexible Talent Network’ and the ‘Contractor Network’ were initiated. They allowed for the business to flex alongside commercial peaks and dips and for workers to choose a pattern of work that fitted with extra life demands, such as homeschooling. By 2020, the initiatives saw PwC emerge as a productivity powerhouse and voted ‘Best Employer for Flexible Working 2021.
Following Marisa’s success story, all Action Learning Group leaders took participants into separate breakout rooms to discuss individually how their own smart working practices have been implemented across one of six key stakeholder groups, from new starters to senior management teams and operations. Here are the resulting top three take-aways:
Marissa Williams tackled The Senior Management Team.
Dagmar Albers, UK Lead on Diversity & Inclusion (Gender Pay Gap) at Pfizer, alongside Undergraduate Ella Warren, tackled New Starters.
David Blackburn, Chief People Officer at FSCS, recently awarded the Chartered CCIPD in recognition of his pioneering HR work, addressed Middle Management, where flexible working practices often get stuck.
Jessica Hornsby, 10 years Business Psychologist at Thales, who uses data to prove the positive influence diverse teams have on productivity, addressed ‘Organisational Development’.
Richard Pollins, Managing Partner of DMH Stallard, recently awarded the ‘Gatwick Diamond Business Person of the Year’, led discussions on Teams and Facility Development.
Liane Richardson, HR Director at Thakeham Group, named ‘Best Small Company to work for’ this year, tackled ‘HR Teams’.
Covid-19 has been the biggest test case for flexible working, providing us with clear evidence on how well it can work. Watch this space for more actionable take-aways based on the finer details of this most recent Action Learning Group discussion and for the date of the next one. Keep in touch on 07810541599 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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