New findings from a series of business think tanks involving CEOs, senior HR professionals and workplace decision makers from across the U.S., the U.K. and other countries reveal that bosses anticipate 50 percent to 80 percent of employees will move to time or location flexible work within five years, driven largely by the need to attract and retain superior talent. This is up from a reported 25 percent today.
The findings from the FlexPaths-LinkedIn Virtual Think Tanks offer a point of view rarely communicated in an industry dominated largely by human resource professionals—that of the C-level executive. Through the peer knowledge exchange that unfolded, the participants, across industries and from around the globe, were able to share challenges and glean insights and best practices in a collaborative environment. At the same time, they acknowledged that their organizations have a long way to go to overcome the cultural barriers around flexible workforce practices.
"It's fascinating that the corporate world can see flexible working to become the standard in the near future, but is currently still struggling to overcome cultural obstacles and therefore to benefit from the ROI that has been proven in all the research," said Clare Flynn Levy, managing director of FlexPath. "The key to getting from A to B is to treat every worker as a flexible worker—to make flexible work a strategic business imperative."
Today's economy is a talent economy, says Kevin Eyres, EMEA managing director for LinkedIn.
"Companies will rise and fall on based their ability to attract and retain the best talent," Eyres said. "Combined with that is the increase in Generation Y workers entering the workforce who expect a flexible working life as standard. Organizations failing to adapt will lose out in the battle for the best people."
Ultimately, all of the think tank groups came to the conclusion that there is a need to develop manager capability in managing flexible workers, along with a need for infrastructure and systems to support this new normal—including infrastructure to confidently measure performance in a virtual and oftentimes asynchronous environment.
The following are findings from the report.