and recruitment for flexible working
Factors in selection:
Selecting people who will be involved in
initial flexible work pilots and programmes often generates
heated discussion. Different
considerations come into play the first time around, as it
requires existing staff to work in a different way.
Future recruitment should in principle be
less problematic, as new recruits have not experienced life
under the previous "inflexible" culture.
Nonetheless their previous work experience and preferred
methods of working may limit their adaptability to innovative
Personal suitability is only one variable
in the selection: other variables are
All of these need to be addressed in the
context of the wider change programme.
Specifying personal characteristics:
Recruitment, selection for new tasks and
promotion often involve some kind of assessment of personality,
sometimes including psychometric analysis. It is quite natural
that HR practitioners may see some merit in applying this to
assessing suitability for flexible working.
There are numerous publications that outline desirable
personality traits, and even software to conduct teleworking-focused
However, this is an area where it is hard
to be precise, and once again it is necessary to raise the issue
about whether flexible working is for the whole of a job or only
And much current advice is simply banal.
According to the UK Department for Education and Employment teleworkers
good time managers
and this is no doubt right. But to assess
the value of such advice, turn the issue on its head. Ask, then,
which of your employees do you want NOT to exhibit these
In almost all cases, specified
attributes for flexible workers are only what you would expect
from the best of your workforce as a whole.
And if you are employing people whom you
find to be immature, untrustworthy, undisciplined, poor time
managers etc, the question arises why you are employing them at
Unless you are content for telework to be
available as a privilege, or as an option for a kind of
workforce elite, then the issue is not so much about
selection on a personality basis as about how to raise standards
and how to prepare people for a different workstyle.
Not all teleworking is the same!
again, it is difficult to arrive at generic advice, as the devil
is in the detail. Much is made, for example, of the need for
location independent workers to be self-motivated, self-managed
and to be willing to work on a trust basis. While this is often
the case, it often is not. If you are at home on phone duty for
BT or the AA, or need to be available for clients, you really
have to be at a specified place at a specified time.
may be at a distance, but it still exists in the same way as if
your manager was at HQ and you were at a satellite office.
and working remotely