Legislating for flexible work places is a step in the wrong direction, according to HR expert and HR Anywhere managing director Martin Nally. “The Fair Work Act should set award minimum standards, but legislation should not define culture,” he said. Advocating for a “push-pull” approach to flexibility, Nally said employers needed to understand “flexibility can’t be imposed as the needs of employees will be individual”. He said the challenge for HR was creating a culture where all employees were allowed to define their own objectives, and develop the tools and systems to achieve them.
“The most important task for HR is working with employees to define role clarity,” he said. “Role clarity is fundamental to an engaged, enthusiastic employee knowing how they contribute to an organisation.” However he said role clarity should focus on outcomes, not skills. “If you get role clarity right, then you can contemporaneously set objectives that will invigorate employees.” He said objective setting needed to be more flexible, to build on the interests and enthusiasm of employees. “Employees should be encouraged to set their own objectives because authorship builds ownership.”
He said organisations with a “stereotypical approach” to flexibility and career development would be left behind. “HR needs to focus on advancement planning, not career development,” he said. “Not everyone wants the same thing, not every employee wants to be on the career treadmill, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t enthusiastic and important employees.” He said the role of HR in a progressive business was to identify what career advancement meant to individuals and build plans upon that. “You just have to look at the way Gen Y operates by saying ‘integrate my work into my life’ rather than ‘my life into my work’ to realise that employers need individual attention to employees to obtain maximum enthusiasm and performance,” he said.
Source: Thomson Reuters’ HR Report, 31 October 2012.