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Shortlisted for Flexible Working Award

Early last month, we were narrowly pipped to the post for the Workingmums.co.uk 9th annual Top Employer Awards for the category Innovation in Flexible Working by the Civil Service, HR team (part of the Cabinet Office).

To be eligible for the Innovation Award, ‘employers should demonstrate policies which are innovative and break new ground’. Our submission focused on our strong culture of flexibility – that we trust our employees and managers to devise individual solutions that work for them, without being constrained by formal policies or bureaucracy.

For example, an internal survey conducted in June found that 100% of line managers who were surveyed within our Transportation division described themselves as working flexibly when this was defined as ‘having choice over your working hours and/or working location, even if working full-time’, yet very few had either a formal or contractual flexible working arrangement in place.

Victoria Jones, Head of Talent Attraction & Recruitment and Head of Diversity & Inclusion for UK & Europe says: “As a company, we recognise that flexible working can play a vital role in our performance. It can help us to retain valued employees, manage workloads and increase productivity simply because employees feel more valued and motivated. It also allows us to support our employees if they've had a change in personal circumstances and need more flexibility, as well those who are reaching the end of their career and want to transition to a new life phase gradually.

It’s so exciting to see our company up there alongside the likes of the Civil Service who have a longstanding reputation for a flexible work culture. We are now even more convinced by the business benefits of flexible work and will continue to strive for best practice policies and to make it a cultural norm across the company.”

Many, but not all, of those who need to work flexibly are parents and our ParentNet Yammer group has given them a visible voice. Jennifer McClellan is the network’s chair and attended the awards evening. Speaking about this recognition, she said: “We’re so proud to have been short-listed for this award and to have been able to showcase our organisation as a beacon of best practice. From my own experience and through the stories that have been shared in ParentNet and company social media channels, I know what a difference flexible working can make to people’s lives.”

A measure of success
Our success is demonstrated by the increasing number of employees that work flexibly. As many arrangements are informal, we can only track those working part-time. Since 2013 we’ve seen a year-on-year increase in the numbers of part-time workers, and the proportion of men working part-time has increased at a higher rate.

What’s next
Creating a culture of flexibility isn’t something that happens by accident and wouldn’t have been possible without a supportive management team, however, there’s still more that we could be doing.
The ParentNet network is creating a working group that will focus on an action plan to achieve the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ‘Working Forward Pledge’ – a nationwide campaign to make workplaces the best they can be for pregnant women and parents. As part of our pledge we will demonstrate our commitment to fostering the right culture for flexible working to thrive for all our colleagues regardless of seniority, gender, age or reason for utilising flexibility.

Read some of the inspiring stories already published here.