- Flexible-work offerings help retain female employees, but that flexibility is also in demand from men, research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found. According to BCG, millennial men favor the ability to decide when, where and how much they work more than previous generations. BCG concluded that when employers offer flexibility solely in search of gender diversity they're "missing the full picture."
- The research also showed that in companies without flexible work options, women are 20% more likely to look for a new job in the next three years and men are 30% more likely to do so. In results from prior research, women in double-income households were 1.9 times more likely to be the primary person responsible for daily chores, resulting in some leaving the workforce, if only temporarily, BCG said.
- BCG suggests that work flexibility is evolving into a "business imperative," contributing to employee engagement, retention and an organization's ability to distinguish itself from the competition in the battle for talent of all genders.
Employers that don't see the value in flexible work arrangements may find themselves with a turnover problem: One-third of respondents to a FlexJobs survey released in August said left a job because it didn't offer flexible work options. In another recent FlexJobs survey, nearly the same percentage of women with children under 18 said that inflexible work schedules are drivng them out of the workforce. Citing a Center for Work-Life Policy survey, BCG said that among women with advanced degrees or high-honors undergraduate degrees who left their jobs, 69% would have stayed if their employers offered more flexible work options.
These statistics are notable for employers trying to build and maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace that supports the development of all workers. Experts have said that flexible work arrangements and paid leave for fathers and other caregivers are a boon to female retention as they can help lighten the caregiving load women often bear. The BCG research adds a new urgency to the need for flexible work arrangements, asserting that it can be a critical retention component for the entire workforce.
Given these results, organizations without flexible work schedules might consider how well they'll fare in the competition for talent. The BCG research identified six steps that can contribute successful flexible work programs: 1) make sure flexible work programs don't hamper workers' advancement opportunities; 2) involve workers in setting policies; 3) offer a broad array of flexible work options; 4) make sure the program is practical for daily operations; 5) ensure that the program is useful to both women and men; and 6) make sure senior-level staff use the program — to set an example for the rest of the employees.