Chances are, your company offers job flexibility. Roughly 80 percent of employers offer some type of flexible work arrangements like compressed work schedules or telecommuting opportunities. Results from many surveys over the years have shown that they are a desired employee benefit because they contribute to worklife balance. Just as important, they also act as an effective recruitment and retention magnet, especially for hard-to-fill jobs.

Considering that the US unemployment rate is 4.9 percent and the number of job openings nationwide is 5.5 million – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – offering a variety of flexible work options would seem like a no-brainer. Whether your company is recruiting active Baby Boomers, Millenials with growing families, or college students who juggle class schedules with work schedules, offering and promoting flexible work options to your entire workforce in a gig economy may be as essential as a steady paycheck.

Despite the numerous advantages for both employees and employers, flexible work arrangements still take a back seat at some organizations. Here are some stats from

  • 44 percent of organizations do not feature or market flexible work options as an employee benefit
  • 41 percent report access to flexible work is not widespread to all employees
  • 67 percent of managers offer flexibility at their own discretion
  • 36 percent of companies have a formal written flex policy

These numbers are surprising. Employers, big or small, across every industry and job category, spend millions on increasing employee engagement, which often leads to enhanced loyalty, higher productivity, and reduced absenteeism. Besides, happy employees typically don’t quit. The cost of employee turnover is at least several times that of each employee’s salary.

It doesn’t matter what type of person you’re trying to attract or job you’re trying to fill.  Workplace flexibility is now a business protocol that demonstrates an employer’s commitment to its workforce.

Even if the job requires someone to work onsite 40 hours a week, people’s needs change throughout their lives. There may come a time where they must alter their work schedule to accommodate family or other personal needs. Formal flex policies can act as an insurance policy, providing them with inhouse options, which prevents them from searching for external jobs. These workers are familiar with your organization’s people, policies, practices and also culture. Do you really want them to leave?

The more flexible your policies are, the better. Employees may want time off during work hours to drop off and pick up their children from school, help an elderly family member, or get an oil change. In order to be successful, workplace flexibility must be supported by your company’s leaders, offered to employees in all jobs at all levels, and workers must be encouraged to use it.

Since flex work benefits have universal appeal, they will attract the right candidates  with the right skills for your organization and even reach out to others you may not have considered, perhaps those on the edge whose skills can translate across industries or jobs.

If your company wants to be considered as an industry leader, it must attract diverse and skilled talent.  Offering core employee benefits – no matter how comprehensive – is not enough. To help grow your base of job candidates, which better enables you to pick and choose the best people for your workplace, flexible work options need to be woven throughout your culture and tied to your strategic goals. By doing so, you will be taking an important step toward evolving your organization as a 21st century employer.