The Versatile Employer: Retaining Employees by Meeting Their Needs

Highly qualified personnel is a hard to come by -- particularly in certain industries and fields of expertise. In order to recruit and retain top talent, companies need to ensure that their employees are happy. And one way to do that is being a versatile employer.

What exactly does that mean? It means that you have implemented a set of systems and regulations that allow employees to shape their working lives according to the most important needs of their private lives. Here are six measures that can help achieve a high degree of versatility.

Flexitime models This is not a new idea, but it may just be the most important measure for most employees: Being able to interrupt work for private obligations, e.g. picking up a child from nursery or going to the dentist, without having to fill out a permission sheet every single time, is a freedom that is greatly appreciated by many employees.

Individual working hours Many people, especially parents, love their job but can't work fulltime anymore. Depending on their individual situation, 20, 25, or 30 hours per week may be their ideal number. If you are flexible in this regard, you will have a much higher chance attracting talents with time constraints.

Job sharing If you have a job opening for a full-time position, you shouldn't disregard all the applicants that want to work part-time. Instead you could set up a job sharing system where two people share the responsibilities of a single full-time job. The advantage for you: You will have to people fully qualified for the position which can come in handy in case of sickness etc.

Telecommuting Nowadays, many jobs can be done anywhere, provided you have a computer or laptop and a working internet connection. Allowing people to work from home (or from any other place) - for special occasions (e.g. waiting for a water-meter reading) or regularly (e.g. twice a week) - will give them some additional flexibility to manage their private lives.

Sabbaticals There can be many reasons for employees to request a break from work: They may feel the emotional need of an extended timeout, have private challenges to tend to, or want to study in order to become better at their job. Enabling employees to do that shows your willingness to adapt to their individual needs - and, in some cases, will ensure that an employee stays on board.

Child care and elder care provisions One of the most common challenges for employees trying to juggle their work and life is that they have to take care of someone - this can be a child, a spouse, or a parent. You can help those individuals by offering various child care and elder care measures, such as sponsoring places in existing child care centres, establishing carers' rooms and breastfeeding facilities, and introducing employees to community support networks on elder care.

Those are a few measures you can offer to your employees. They will make life easier for them and show them that you care about their wellbeing as much as you care about their productivity - and that you understand those two are interconnected.

If you would like to read more about the topic, then download the eBook Managing Diversity by Janet Sayers and have a look at our website with many more helpful eBooks at