Lily's Kitchen | HRD reveals why inclusivity should be a crucial part of flexible work policies

HRD reveals why inclusivity should be a crucial part of flexible work policies

Over the last few weeks and months, the topic of future working structures - including flexible working - has been high up on the HR agenda, largely sparked by the coronavirus crisis.

Yet, it appears that some employers, including the pet food brand Lily’s Kitchen, already had flexible working in place.

Unlike other employers – who have been forced to facilitate flexible working in response to the pandemic – Lily’s Kitchen says it already had flexible working arrangements in place. 

So, when the pandemic hit, the firm’s Human Resources Director, Georgina Cameron, said it was more about evolving an established policy.

She told HR Grapevine: “At Lily’s Kitchen, we are a close-knit team and our aim is to strike a balance that supports colleagues’ connectivity and collaboration.

"Many companies have been forced to create flexible working in response to the pandemic, but at Lily’s Kitchen we already had flexible working in place, and therefore it was more about evolving an established policy.

"Before welcoming the Lily’s Kitchen team back to the office – when safe to do so – we wanted to understand our staff’s needs and preferred ways of working. We undertook a survey to gather opinions on how each individual would like to work post-COVID. 

“87% of our colleagues were keen to work between one and three days in the office, so we anticipate most staff working two days. 

“The policy is, of course, flexible by nature and we will adapt according to how both the business and staff needs evolve,” Cameron added.

Following this experience, the HR practitioner has shared three top tips below when it comes to rolling out a flexible working policy, as well as highlighting top things the function should consider.

‘Inclusivity’ at the core

She explained: “Firstly, flexible working policies should be created with inclusivity in mind, rather than delivered as a top-down decision.

“Asking questions is vital to make sure all thoughts and opinions are taken into consideration while the policy is developed. This also helps to get buy-in from all staff when the policy is ready to launch.

“Employee satisfaction should be a priority for any HR department and to help achieve this, everyone should feel their voices have been heard and their needs considered,” Cameron added.

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Cameron also pointed towards the results of a recent internal survey which suggested that the majority of staff like the balance that they get by splitting their time between the office and at home.

“We want to be able to support that into the future,” the HR practitioner added.

‘Empower don’t micromanage’

She explained: “Colleagues and teams each have different working practices, so it’s important individuals are empowered and don’t feel micromanaged, but at the same time, receive the mentoring and support they need to perform at their best.

“Really listening to staff helps to understand their specific requirements, which the HR team can then balance to ensure work is carried out both collaboratively and independently as required.”

‘Checking participation’ is key

She explained: “Finally, flexible working obviously means colleagues will not be in the office all the time, which has the potential to make people feel disconnected from the team, culture, and company.

“Therefore, checking that everyone can participate in meetings, brainstorms, support and training programmes is essential, whether they are in the workplace or working remotely,” Cameron said.

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The HRD went onto explain that, as with all company initiatives or policies – regardless of what they do – it is crucial to incorporate a test and learn approach.

She added: “By regularly reviewing a flexible working policy, HR departments can adjust certain aspects to ensure a positive response.

“A continuous improvement approach will allow businesses to adapt to the ever-evolving working world,” Cameron added.



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