Written by SueAnn Naso, President of Staffing Solutions Enterprises
Does providing a flexible work environment really matter?
I'd have to say the answer to this question is an overwhelming YES and the Families and Work Institute agrees with me. This past week, Staffing Solutions Enterprises and five other northeast Ohio companies were recognized by Cleveland SHRM for our exemplary work and results in the area of Workplace Flexibility. The When Work Works Award honors workplaces that effectively use workplace flexibility strategies to increase business and employee success.
The need for workplace flexibility has been a passion of mine before the term ever became popular. My experience dates back to 1995 after the birth of my second child when I was 28 years old. At that time, I had been with Staffing Solutions for 3 years as a Business Development Representative. Shortly after my maternity leave, I returned to full-time work and I realized I felt “out of sync.”
I was struggling to give 100% to both my family and the job I loved.
I knew that I needed flexibility from my employer and that cutting down my hours to 30 hours a week would make all the difference in the world. I was prepared to resign from the position I loved so I could look for more traditional part-time work that would allow me to be with my young family.
After struggling with these feelings for about a month, I finally got up enough nerve to talk to my boss. I had taken the time to develop a plan that I felt would work for me AND for SSE. I felt confident that I would still be able to meet my business goal, even if I wasn't in the office 40 hours a week.
So, long story short………..after a lot of discussion and a trial period, they took a risk and allowed me to reduce my hours to 30 a week for 2 years. Now, 19 years after that critical decision point in my life, I’m thankful every day for their openness to try something new and take a risk to retain a loyal, dedicated, and hard-working employee.
Experience Over Facts
I’m not going to take the time to quote statistics on why allowing your employees some work flexibility pays off. If you need those, there are many articles, books, and examples you can read that prove it adds value. I’m going to tell you from my personal experience and the experiences of my staff that it works.
We have the most hard-working, dedicated, and compassionate employees in our industry. No matter where they are in their cycle of work, whether a new recent college graduate, a spouse and parent with family obligations, or a child of an aging parent, there is always a need to give people some flexibility in how they manage both their professional lives and their personal lives.
My advice...the workplace is not "one size fits all." It helps tremendously to just be open to flexibility and to listen to what your employees need, no matter what stage of life they are in.
About: SueAnn Naso has served as President of Staffing Solutions Enterprises since 2009. She joined Staffing Solutions in 1992 and has been instrumental in leading business expansion and development of exceptional recruitment service and sales teams. In addition to developing sales and service operations, she spearheaded the introduction of leading technology based Managed Staffing Services Recruitment Process Outsourced Solutions.Throughout her tenure she has championed for work-life balance amongst employees and received the prestigious nationally recognized Alfred P. Sloan Award for effective and flexible workplaces in 2012, 2013, and 2014. She has also been recognized as 2013 Woman of Note and 2014 Women Who Excel Finalist. Under her leadership, the company has won the Smart Business World Class Customer Service Award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.