Employee Turnover Due to Loss of Workplace Flexibility

Actual Comments of Why Employees Leave
“When the company introduced a ‘work from home’ schedule I was allowed to have it. This was a savings as far as commute stress was concerned. Then, my boss revoked this benefit at her discretion and made me be in the office each day.”

The Solution
It takes time and commitment to successfully implement workplace flexibility. In this particular situation we do not know where on the flexibility continuum this organization was; however, it appears as though workplace flexibility was not a critical component or accepted as a means to organizational success.

Workplace flexibility works best in an open, honest, supportive work environment where respect, trust, and personal accountability are the foundation. Workplace flexibility must have the support and buy-in of senior management, managers, and supervisors. This support and buy-in will either make or break workplace flexibility programs. In this situation, it is clear that the manager did not support the flexibility of employees working from home.

Despite documented successes of these types of programs, there is continued resistance toward workplace flexibility. Some of the resistance includes the following:

  • Often times flexible work arrangements are made without clear guidelines or expectations. When they do not work, which under these circumstances is generally the case, future attempts to implement workplace flexibility initiatives are difficult or impossible.
  • Some jobs are not suitable. The whole concept of flexibility is “something for everyone” not necessarily “the same thing for everyone.”
  • Work overload. Ultimately, managers are responsible for getting the work done and their concerns – loss of control, how to supervise someone who isn’t there, etc. – must be addressed. Research shows that flexibility is not another “to do” but rather a “tool” to improve productivity.
  • Many top decision-makers do not themselves experience the struggles to manage work and “have a life”. This barrier grows out of viewing flexibility as an accommodation to individual employees rather than as a business tool to enhance business performance.

Workplace flexibility is a powerful driver of attraction, motivation, engagement, and employee retention and is the way work will be done in the 21st century. It can create a “win-win” for everyone.

(This blog post brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight, HSD’s exit interviewing service. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential. Check our blog often for posts like this, to reduce employee turnover within your organization. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.)