Arbeitnehmer erwarten flexible Arbeitsmodelle

The country needs new working models, but not only...

In many industries, companies are desperately trying to fill their vacancies. The battle for capable employees is in full swing. The tide has turned and an extremely comfortable situation has arisen for the employees. At least that is the snapshot. As we know, this situation can change again quickly... At the moment, however, well-educated job seekers in many sectors can take their time to pick out the cherry from the large number of vacancies that best suit their needs, wishes and convictions. Companies, on the other hand, have to react. They are in the difficult position of having to set themselves apart from the masses with their job offers and score points with attractive offers and additional benefits in order to win over qualified employees. While this often involves the possibility of working independently of time and location, it often also includes completely different values and benefits.

A shift in thinking is called for by employers. They can no longer sit back and make their choice from hundreds of candidates. Instead, it is now up to them to «market» themselves as a company and their open positions particularly well to job seekers. It means making job offers more attractive and appealing than the competition and scoring points with your own values and corporate culture.

So the creativity of employers is required: What catches the attention of the sought-after target group in a positive sense? What is particularly important to job seekers in one's own industry in order to decide in favor of a company?

Let's put aside one obvious criterion, namely the salary, which can of course also convince employers - at least in the short term - and take a look at the benefits and buzzwords that companies can use to attract employees today.

Still a topic: home office

The experts had been in agreement for some time that digitization would bring about a revolution in the world of work. Well, they were right, and it happened much faster than they would ever have suspected or expected. In a sense, digitization has «hit us full on.» The most important drivers for this development were the pandemic and globalization. Mobile working, flexible workplaces and home office are already commonplace in a number of industries (e.g., pharmaceuticals, insurance). A large part of the population working in office jobs has already had a taste of home office life. Many have taken a liking to it and no longer want to do without this option. Whoever thought that after the abolition of the home office obligation, employees would immediately switch to business-as-usual and happily show up at the office 5 days a week again, probably speculated wrongly. The situation is different in many companies.

A large proportion of employers who have only offered home office in response to external pressure would probably prefer to return to normal office operations sooner rather than later and see their employees working mainly on site. In many industries, however, employers are almost forced to offer the home office option, or at least hybrid models, in their job listings in order to «snag» employees. But is the option of mobile working really the sole deciding factor for job seekers? We would say no.

For industries where digital working is possible, this work model certainly plays a role in the choice of employer. Nevertheless, there are certainly also numerous employees who are very happy to return to the office because they appreciate the social aspect and their pleasant workplace or find direct communication not only more personal but also more efficient. Or because they don't have the option of working in a home office because they simply don't have enough space there or they can't find the necessary peace and quiet.

Nevertheless, the option of working «on the move» at least some of the time is now taken for granted by many and cannot be ignored. However, the effort required by companies to enable home office and mobile working by no means ends with the acquisition of the appropriate technological equipment. There are a number of other requirements that must be met: The way in which employees are managed must be adapted, confidence must be built up that employees will perform to their full potential even if no supervisor is constantly watching their backs, new processes, working methods and a different way of communicating are required. But one thing is certain in any case: Anyone who advertises «home office» in their job ads must definitely be able to implement this promise later on if they want to retain their employees in the long term.

Enabling mobile working and home office in the long term therefore requires a company to make some financial and time investments, and undoubtedly brings employees a benefit that should not be underestimated. Nevertheless, home office as the only or main benefit in the job advertisements will not tip the scales in the decision-making process, even for applicants with home office-capable jobs.

Many job seekers today also consciously pay attention to other things when choosing their employer, which may not be so obvious at first glance. When choosing a job, points such as corporate culture, environmental awareness, sustainability and the like often play a role that should not be underestimated. Moreover, popular new working models are by no means limited to «home office» - flexibility at work in general is sought after.

Rethinking work models

It doesn't always have to be a home office. We need to rethink traditional working models in general.

What many employees value most today is the flexibility, the freedom to work independently not only in terms of location but also of time without having to adhere to fixed working hours. Many people find it a great advantage to be able to take their individual biorhythms into account to a certain extent when scheduling their workload. Early and late risers can thus benefit and work exactly when they are most efficient – which is also very positive for the employer.

Mentioning as a benefit in a job advertisement that the company does not require any fixed presence times and that it is possible to work flexibly could therefore be a convincing argument for job seekers. It goes without saying that there are certain «core times» during which everyone should be present in order to facilitate meetings.

A completely new term that has also emerged in the course of mobile and flexible working is «trust-based working time». This new model is based on the employer's trust that the employee will complete all of his or her tasks within the agreed time frame and to his or her complete satisfaction, without prescribing how, where and when the tasks are to be completed. The essential prerequisite for this model to work is the formulation of «smart» objectives and the clear assignment of responsibilities. When implemented successfully, the company receives as much «productive time» from the employee as it would if he or she worked on-site in the office. And the employee benefits from a large amount of time for hobbies, sports and family, i.e. an optimal work-life balance and can perform at full capacity in a satisfied and balanced manner - a benefit with which a company can certainly still stand out positively from the competition today!

In general, employees today appreciate dynamic models of time management: part-time work and job sharing are just as much part of the new «way of working» as time-limited project work or working for different employers at the same time.

Variety with breaks, in which perhaps no work is done at all, but new energy is tanked for further projects, is popular today especially with young and independent job seekers. Anyone who has such temporary jobs on offer could certainly score points with this option, but must then also live with the resulting higher fluctuation and the more frequent search for new employees.

What is the consequence?

The more flexible work models become, the more flexible employers have to be. This brings with it new challenges. This not only affects the management of employees, but also the work structures, which, despite all the freedom for employees, should still ensure the same efficiency and productivity as before. Mobile working also poses additional dangers in the age of cybercrime, so top IT specialists and state-of-the-art IT technologies are now an absolute must. This is where it is usually advisable to involve external IT service providers who have a lot of experience from different industries. 

Since employees in certain industries can choose their jobs in the current situation, the ball is in the employers' court. They definitely need to be more creative in their job offers. It is no longer enough to offer benefits that are almost taken for granted, such as «free drinks and fruit» or «punctual transfer of salary». What is needed today are models that give employees greater freedom to organize their work in addition to the usual benefits. At the same time, however, the younger generation in particular also pays attention to values such as environmental awareness, sustainability and an appreciative employee-oriented corporate culture. It is therefore helpful for employers to present themselves as progressive, employee-friendly, sustainable and environmentally aware in their job offers and on other external communication channels (website, social media) and, of course, to live these values.

The services of Skillcloud

Particularly in industries where it is common for employees to be hired for projects or otherwise for a limited period of time, the new flexible working models bring with them the additional challenge of higher fluctuation, which internal HR is often unable to «handle» on its own. Here, it can make a lot of sense to work with the same HR service provider over the long term, who offers workforce solutions, knows the company, knows what benefits and goodies job seekers look for, takes care of the entire administrative process, and ideally has a constant pool of potential candidates for the profiles they are looking for. At Skillcloud, we can provide you with the best support in all these points, especially in the IT industry, but also in other areas!

Jan Schmitz-Elsen, Team Lead Talent Acquisition

+41 79 425 10 45

Ergänzende Services der Datalynx Gruppe