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What does Flex mean to you?

In a flexible world, everyone works differently and for different reasons, and so for this year’s National Work Life Week, we’re asking people to share – what does flexible working mean to you? 

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Published: 26 Aug 2016

Civil Service, Winner 2016, The Innovation Award

Key features

  • A truly innovative approach to achieving effective job sharing.
  • Benefits already realised include the retention of women, support for carers and people with disabilities and job sharing for those who wish to ease in to retirement.
  • Ten senior managers have already found job share partners.
  • Recruitment savings of £75,000 compared to operating costs of £50,000 in year one.

One of the challenges to being in an effective job share is finding an appropriate partner. Often organisations leave the search up to individuals. Others create registers to collect names which can be rudimentary and paper based. Innovation in the job share arena was badly needed. The Civil Service has created that innovative approach: the Civil Service job share finder tool to allow all civil servants to identify and contact each other when looking for a job share partnership. The site has had 1,226 registrants since its launch in 2015.

The creation of the site was originally driven by the need to address the missed opportunity of retaining female talent in senior management roles because of the lack of take up of flexible working practices within the Civil Service. Potential benefits have been expanded to include job sharing to support older workers who wish to reduce hours during pre-retirement working, supporting people with disabilities who may wish to job share as part of reasonable adjustments processes and also supporting carers who may wish to job share to facilitate the time management of their caring responsibilities. 

The job share finder tool is already reaping measurable benefits. Site survey results have shown that 80% of people found the site easy to use and, in the first year of operation, ten senior managers at Grade7 and Director grades have found job share partners with whom they subsequently took up new posts. A cost benefit analysis has shown that staff retention through job sharing was equivalent to a recruitment cost saving of £75,000 within the first year of operation compared to yearly running cost of £50,000 for the tool. These savings are only expected to increase in the years to come.

There are additional benefits to the tool. It has a group email function which has been used to great effect to organise job share networking events and progress site surveys. The tool also generates data that has been used to identify areas where the site could be promoted more effectively.

The tool has received much attention and praise from within the Civil Service with the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, praising the site as ‘one of five reasons for the Civil Service to cheer’ at the Talent Action Plan event in 2015. Outside the Civil Service, private sector companies are seeking out the development and implementation team to review the tool and learn from it.

The work completed on progressing the service has resulted in several award nominations where the site achieved being a finalist including the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion awards 2015.