Wed Aug 13th 2014 / Alvin Tam
Can recruiters truly embrace flexible working?
Flexible working arrangements such as flexitime, compressed work weeks, working from home, are slowly transforming employment systems and work processes across time zones and cultures. The increasing proliferation of flexible working is a global employment phenomenon, however only some countries are the trailblazers.
Starting with 30th of June 2014, flexible working is a right of all UK citizens, according to The Recruitment and Employment Confederation. The question raised is where other nations are standing on the flexible working scale and moreover, how much is the recruiting segment affected by this working norm shift.
While the HR sector faces the modernity blow brought by flexible working, there is no wonder that a similar system has to be implemented by recruitment companies. Focusing on a whole new set of extensions like cloud based software, mobile technology or applicant tracking software, the traditional recruitment methods will lose terrain for a flexible, time saving alternative.
According to Guy Hayward, chief executive of financial recruiter Goodman Masson, implementing steady flexible working will propel recruitment firms often stuck in the 1980s into the 21st century. In a recent interview , he said that, rigid old working paradigm is no longer a key point in effectively running a business: Organisations should look after their people and part of that is flexible working. There is most definitely a correlation between high levels of employee engagement and business performance.
In the same interview, Barney Ely, director of Hays Human Resources, stressed that more and more employees expect flexible working to be part of their benefits package. Recruiters implementing and benefiting from flexible hours REC Flexible Work Commission Report suggests that recruiters should be the first to foster change with regards to flexible hours in their own organisations, by advising clients on flexible work benefits. However, its more interesting to see if, what the preacher is preaching is true, and to discover how well implemented this system is among recruiters. According to Job Crowd, the daily average number of working hours in the Recruiting Industry (UK) is 10hrs, with an average start time at 8:00 AM and an average end time at 6:00 PM. The results are based on 312 reviews provided by recruiters, via Job Crown. To provide a few unbiased examples, there are more and more recruiters benefiting of flexible hours, but a considerable amount of recruiters are still stuck in a 7:30 AM 8:00 PM schedule, especially in higher positions. Andrew Johnson, Head of Recruiting at empowr, gives a closer insight on flexible working parallel between small boutiques and recruiting corporations: "There are quite a few large publicly traded recruiting firms and I don't think you're going to find much flexibility in the hour or metrics. When you look at smaller boutique firms, then you might find flexibility, but only after you've proven yourself. In that world it's pretty much a commission business, so as long as you're generating revenue there's often less concern as to specific hours or if you're "in the office". When it comes to a corporate environment, you really need to be in the office if you've developed rapport and relationships with your candidates - mostly because you'll want to be there to escort them through any on-site interview process, etc. and ensure a good candidates experience", concludes Andrew Johnson on Quora.
The impact of cloud based software
Like every other sector, the recruiting industry is no longer bound by a 9 to 5 operating hours mentality, and employees no longer need around the clock access to documents or their colleagues accounts.
According to a 2012 Towers Watson report, 100% of the Fortune 1000 companies were already using Software as a Service (SaaS) for data utilization in that year. Nevertheless, the cloud is not designed just for big businesses. As CRN forecasted, small business are spending approx. $100 billion annually on cloud computing products.
The same annual report delivered by Towers Watson in 2014, shows that HR Technology is moving extremely fast towards the implementation of new technology and new functionality. This list includes HR portals, talent management solutions, mobile access services and SaaS systems.
Cloud computing is vital extension for HR and recruiting professionals which not only decreases recruiters workflow and allows the implementation of flexible working, but can access in demand - software or information. Upon using cloud software, recruiters can reach more candidates, post jobs efficiently and aggregate candidate information and profiles into a single, searchable source. In addition, cloud technology has an increased speed of implementation and updates, eliminating many of the expenses commonly associated with new systems and expensive IT solutions.
Finally, among the highest perks, is the increase innovation and customisation, which allows companies and third-party developers to customise widgets, applications and other solutions to meet each recruitment companys individual business needs and objectives.