Romanie Thomas, CEO and Founder of Juggle Jobs, defines a ‘flexpert,’ and details their attributes, characteristics, and explains why they are in such high demand.
One of the key learnings for business over the past year is that flexible working doesn’t mean less productive employees; in fact, research suggests it’s entirely the opposite.
Treating employees like adults and allowing them to define the hours that make sense for them has resulted in up to 40% greater productivity and increased employee engagement and retention.
The market is shifting in favour of flexible working patterns. This Acas study reveals that over half of employers (55%) expect increased staff working remotely or working remotely part of the week. Before the pandemic, only 5% of the UK workforce worked primarily at home.
“The pandemic has greatly impacted working life, and, unsurprisingly, many employers and their staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during this difficult period,” says Susan Clews, CEO, Acas.
We are now seeing some employers adopt a hybrid approach and ask staff to return to the office, but we mustn’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach here. The choice of where to work should remain with employees, and mandating office time makes it feel like we are regressing.
Our working patterns have adapted, and this has resulted in some clear positives. For example, the ability to juggle more than one job or multiple responsibilities empowers professionals to build a bank of expertise into their already established career portfolios – making them what we call ‘Flexperts’.
What is a ‘Flexpert’, and what is the benefit of being one?
One of the recently placed professionals, Kirsty Baggs-Morgan, is the definition of a flexpert: a breadth of experience, hits the ground running, and can work autonomously to deliver maximum value for her employer. She recently took an exciting opportunity at Alpima to work three days a week, which will work perfectly alongside her other priority – coaching aspiring HR leaders.
Studies have shown that giving professionals the flexibility and freedom to explore other passions means they are more energised and motivated overall.
Your work should revolve around your life, not the other way around.
The attributes and characteristics that define a flexpert
- An expert in their field but continues to learn and develop to be the best version of themselves.
- Embraces autonomy and can hit the ground running with a project.
- A mature cross-functional communicator.
- Self-aware and understands their strengths and limitations.
- Has built a thriving network by consciously setting aside time to build relationships.
- They have a proven track record, a breadth of experience, and work on their terms, delivering maximum value for their employers.
Why ‘Flexperts’ are in such high demand in the current workforce
Flexibility has played an integral role in helping businesses adapt to the pandemic. Firms are quick to adopt remote working practices and deal with the high levels of documentation and asynchronous collaboration tools.
Because of the diverse experience they have built, flexperts are now in huge demand across all sectors, especially due to the uncertainties of the global pandemic.
Onboarding and managing remotely can be challenging for fast-paced organisations without huge budgets or resources, and flexperts are famously known for being self-managing and extremely outcomes-driven.
They can also be hired on a self-employed basis either for a specific project or to assess whether it is the right fit for both parties before taking the next step, which ultimately de-risks the hiring process.
Hiring flexibly means that, as a business, you are meritocratic; you are hiring for skill, rather than geography, background or (not necessarily productive) hours spent in the office.
Why businesses need ‘Flexperts’, and the benefits of hiring them
Being a flexpert is all about the value exchange and paying for experience and productivity, not necessarily about ‘input’. Ultimately, it’s all about the output – and a valuable output no longer needs to be constrained by a rigid 9-5.
“Mike is such an experienced candidate that he achieves more in four days than a more junior candidate would achieve in five,” Joe Perkins, CEO, Landscape (Juggle Jobs customer)
87% of the UK workforce want to work more flexibly, and by hiring a flexpert, businesses are accessing a much more diverse talent pool. They will be able to connect with, for example, an incredibly strong candidate with 15 years experience who has to juggle home responsibilities, so can’t work five days a week necessarily, but is by no means not capable of doing the job to a very high standard.
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Another scenario where businesses really benefit from flexperts is when the team needs to scale cost-effectively and doesn’t necessarily require full-time commitments from certain roles; E.g. a Finance Director two days a week would be ideal for helping a startup get ready for a raise. By hiring Flexperts, businesses are getting better value for money and getting access to a level of experience they may not otherwise be able to afford. This is why Flexperts are the workforce of the future.