Beyond the business case

Alison Maitland's picture

At a well-attended Working Families conference on fathers and flexibility in London this week, Judy Greevy, head of HR and sustainability at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, pointed out that managers in tough economic times tend to want to revert to how we worked in the past. This shows that flexibility is just an “accommodation” and that the work culture hasn’t truly changed. What will persuade managers to change their thinking?

In theory, the business case should do the trick. Fiona Cannon, director of diversity & inclusion for Lloyds Banking Group, pointed out that flexible workers at the bank are much more likely to receive outstanding performance ratings than non-flexible colleagues and are much more “engaged”.

We think the business case needs to be made more powerfully, and we’ve done this in the book, gathering evidence from organizations across the world. But it takes more than a good business case. Culture change means challenging old habits and helping managers to see the benefits, not just for the business and the people in their team, but also for them personally.

So we’ve set out how to shift the work culture, starting from the top, and how, in practical terms, to manage teams who work in lots of different ways - something which Greevy describes as “the key bit we must build in”.

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