The Dimensions of Flexible Job Design
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Recent research by the UK government found that jobs promoted with flexibility had a 30% uplift in applications. Our own studies with companies on the RoleMapper platform found that jobs designed and promoted with flexibility generate a 125% increase in female candidates and an 80% increase in quality of hiring (based on the CV-to-hire ratio).
And flexible job design for some organisations has help achieve 30% women in senior roles and reduced employee turnover 80%+.
Our 5 dimensions of flexible job design help determine the feasibility of whether certain flexible working patterns will work or not. Dimension one: Location Dependency This determines how dependent the role is on a particular physical location, or the importance of face to face communications at a physical location in order to receive and/or conduct the role effectively. This helps us to understand the impact of the role holder not being present in the workplace.
However, if you could ask managers; ‘can this role be available to work remotely going forward?’ they will give you their view, but Managers often have biases or personal preferences around how jobs and teams need to work.
So, to really understand if the role can be worked on this basis there are some specific questions that we could ask around the job itself that takes it away from personal preference or any bias that might exist.
Dimension two: Control over Workflow & Predictability The second dimension determines what the flow of work look like for this role and how predictable it is. This helps us to understand the dynamics of the peaks and troughs, and also gives an idea of the level of control the individual might have over the flow of work, as well as whether there is any scope to flex the time in the role. Dimension three: Availability & Responsiveness How available and responsive does the role holder need to be when work comes in? What are the expectations of stakeholders and colleagues in terms of availability and responsiveness of the role holder? This helps understand the impact on absence from the role for any period of time.
Dimension four: Capability & Expertise Here we are looking at what extent other people in the team have the capability and expertise required to deliver the role. Is it a completely unique role with only one person with the specific expertise to do it, or is it a role carried out by many people?
Looking at this dimension helps us to understand if there could be any option to consider other people to replace, cover or share or step up as a development opportunity if the role holder is absent for any period of time.
Dimension five: Segments of Work Finally, the last dimension is looking at the segments of work in the role. All jobs should be able to be segmented into 4-5 key high level segments of work responsibilities.
Determining what the work segments are gives us a sense of how the job might be divided up and possibly split or shared between one or more people that might enable part-time working in say a job share or shift pattern working arrangement.
Setting-up a mechanism to help your managers assess the flexible job design dimensions for their roles. Embed a systematic approach to assessing job and team flexibility that takes into account all the variables that have an operational impact on varying ways to work flexibly in the role.
Helping identify, a systematic and consistent view of the viable working patterns that not only work for the employee but also work for the business and the team.
It also provides managers, teams and individuals with a roadmap of what flexible working patterns will work and which ones will be more challenging.
By applying the 5 dimensions to every role, every flexible working request, every job you design, you will be able to have a systematic, consistent approach to designing flexible working patterns.