- Our impact>
- Consultancy and training>
- Problems we solve>
- Insight and research
- Timewise Jobs for recruiters
- Timewise Jobs for candidates
- Recent work
- Power List>
- About us>
- Contact us
Government of Jersey were seeking to improve diversity, recruitment and retention by developing a systemic approach to flex. Here’s how our Flex Positive Programme helped them do just that.
Government of Jersey (GoJ) is a complex and multi-faceted organisation which employs around circa 7,000 employees. Their roles span all central government departments and the delivery of all key public services, including prison, uniformed services, police, education, health, and social care.
The challenge and opportunity
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, GoJ were already looking to develop a more systemic approach to flexible working, as a way to improve diversity (particularly gender diversity at senior levels) and to tackle recruitment and retention. The pandemic then acted as a catalyst for increasing flexibility within the organisation, and helped encourage leadership buy-in for making the change.
“Our staff survey responses provided a strong signal that the flexibility employees had experienced during the pandemic was something they wanted to retain and build upon. During the pandemic, many people had gone the extra mile and flexed how they work for the benefit of the organisation and the island. We were particularly conscious of how demotivating it would be for our workforce if we ignored their feedback and simply reverted to old ways of working.”
The Timewise Flex Positive Programme
We agreed with GoJ that our Flex Positive Programme would be the best route to developing a systemic approach to flexible working.
The programme includes an organisation-wide diagnostic to understand the status quo and identify opportunities to enhance flexibility, and workshops to support the development of an organisational vision for flex. These feed into the development of a flex action plan, which is followed by skills development workshops, focusing on job design and creating a culture of flexibility.
“The benchmarking / diagnostic process was really good for us, giving us an independent review of our working practices and helping us see what good looks like. Through the programme, Timewise provided us with a clear roadmap and introduced us to the concept of taking a team-based approach. It helped us to focus on what was important and create an action plan which didn’t seem overwhelming. Timewise bring a wealth of experience and understand what works – without their expertise and guidance it would have taken us a lot longer to make the change.”
Flexible working pilots
We also worked with GoJ to design and deliver flexible working pilots within four departments. These ran between September 2021 and January 2022, supported by monthly coaching clinics led by our team.
At the end of each pilot, we carried out evaluation surveys to gather feedback from participants, to understand their experiences of working flexibly and identify any areas in which they felt flexibility could be further enhanced.
“The pilots have generated learning which has moved the organisation further forward and encouraged others to consider and rethink their approach.”
Key learnings from the programme included:
Trust and an open mindset are critical to success. Start from a place of trust and empower people to balance their needs with the needs of their jobs / team / stakeholders and customers.
A consistent approach from line managers is critical. Upskill line managers across the organisation in flexible job design, managing flexible teams and building trust, to ensure a consistent approach.
“You have to get the managers on board and change their mindsets around flex – if you don’t do that it won’t work. Give them the skills and confidence to take it forward.”
Take a team-based approach. Develop flexible working on a whole-team level so that employees take collective responsibility for ensuring a fair approach. Seek feedback regularly and work together to find solutions to any challenges that may arise.
“We learnt how critical taking a team-based approach is – involve everyone and be open and transparent in discussions you have.”
Learn and evolve. Be willing to experiment; be creative and open-minded about the parameters for pilots, using job design methodology to explore what is possible for each role. Share the experiences of pilot departments with other teams to showcase what is possible, and help to build a culture of flexibility across the wider organisation.
“With pilots, you don’t necessarily get an outcome which will be right first time. It is an iterative process and provides vital learning which helps you evolve and become more creative.”
“We have created a momentum and there is no going back now! We have adopted a more organic approach to flex as an organisation, the conversation is happening now, and flex has become a leadership priority.”
GoJ now proactively promote all jobs as being open to flexibility, both internally and to potential applicants. They are implementing their flex action plan, have delivered training to managers, and developed toolkits and guidance. Flex is now firmly on the leadership agenda.
Through the pilots, they have been able to develop case studies and showcase what is possible to other teams (including flex in senior roles). And, using a team-based approach, they are now rolling out further pilots across other departments.
The feedback we received from pilot participants speaks for itself. On average:
The client’s view:
“I would highly recommend working with Timewise. They bring a breadth and depth of experience which was invaluable, but what I have valued above everything else has been their flexibility and support. They truly operated as a trusted partner and were always there for us, we never felt left to get on with it. They were as committed, passionate and connected to the outcome as we are.”
Published June 2022