Employee flexible work arrangements
Recent job satisfaction reports indicate that employee demand for flexible work schedules and other staffing accommodations will continue to increase. Flexible work arrangements include:
- Flextime (varying starting and ending times).
- Compressed work weeks (workweek compressed into fewer than five days).
- Regular part-time (less than full time status).
- Phased retirement (gradually reducing hours before retirement).
- Telecommuting (regularly working at a site other than the office).
Alternative staffing arrangements are used by many organizations given staffing shortages, business cycle demands, special expertise required, and other circumstances. The temporary, contract, on-call, part-time, seasonal, and other nontraditional workers engaged also have needs in an organization.
The Diverse Workplace
The concept of a diverse workplace has changed and expanded over time. A broad definition of diversity ranges from personality and work style, to all of the visible dimensions of diversity such as race, age, ethnicity, or gender, to secondary influences such as religion, socioeconomics, and education, to work diversities such as management and union, functional level and classification, or proximity to/distance from headquarters.
The following are responsibilities of HR professionals related to the unique needs of employees in a diverse workplace:
- Provide diversity training, a fundamental component of a diversity initiative. The training not only increases awareness and understanding of workplace diversity but also develops concrete skills among staff that will facilitate enhanced productivity and communications among all employees.
- Ensure that training and other development and reward systems are multicultural from the start, with no majority population bias.
- Provide basic skills in reading, writing, arithmetic, computer skills, etc.
- Develop multilingual training programs.
- Provide international translation and interpretation services as needed.
- Sponsor supervisor awareness and language and skill training, as supervisors are influential and critical to employee retention.
- Become aware of laws, regulations, and practices on diversity that vary from country to country.
Expatiation and Repatriation
Yet another area in which HR professionals must support the needs of employees is expatriation and repatriation programs. Organizations develop leadership talent and support their global vision by sending American employees abroad or by bringing international employees to work in the United States.
International assignments are often positioned as a step toward advancement within the firm.
Expatriation is generally defined as the process of sending employees abroad and supporting their ability to adapt to cultural changes and complete their international assignment.
Opportunities for employees to participate in expatriate programs increase when:
- Sufficient local talent is not available
- Creation of a corporate-wide global vision is an important part of the firms overall business strategy.
- International units and domestic operations are highly interdependent.
- The political situation is unstable.
- Significant cultural differences exist between the host and home countries.
Repatriation- broadly describes the process of reintegrating employees into their home country operations following an international assignment.
Some of the key repatriation issues and practices include:
- Continued monitoring of the expatriated employee's performance and career planning in anticipation of the future requirement to repatriate the employee to his or her home country.
- Recognizing that an employee returning home from an international assignment faces as many-or more-challenges than being abroad.
- Providing orientation and training for the employee and the spouse/family to make them aware of any changes in the country, in their former jobs, the organization, politics, etc.
- Implementing a repatriation plan to help create a smooth reentry.
- Providing recognition and appreciation for the knowledge and skills learned during the international assignment.
Overall, in both expatriation and repatriation must realize that an individual may have trouble fending for himself or herself. Many specific factors will need to addressed to create and nurture positive employee-employer relations.