April 28, 2016
A new report has verified the value of flexible working by showing a positive correlation between employee happiness and the adoption of flexible working practices. Yet, the research conducted by IDC and sponsored by Cornerstone OnDemand also reveals that flexible working practices have been taken up at different speeds across Europe, where the lowest flexible working maturity appears to be clustered in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the UK. Business managers and HR respondents stated a low level of flexible working adoption in Poland, the UK, Switzerland and Germany – surprising, given the competitive labour market in these regions. The Nordics, Spain, Benelux and Austria were perceived to be the most mature when it came to flexible working options. Among the respondents from Poland, less than 50 percent of those surveyed were allowed to work from home, while the figure for the Nordic countries was 87 percent.
As organisations face an era of digital transformation, the research examines the new world of work and the perceptions and expectations of HR leaders and business managers across 16 European countries regarding employee management and development.
The findings show that European companies do seem to be embracing collaboration, with a majority of respondents agreeing that employees are good at collaborating (78 percent) and taking on new responsibilities (75 percent). However, work needs to be done to facilitate collaboration, as line managers appear to be less supportive (65 percent) of team members applying for positions outside of their own departments than what HR believes (83 percent).
Furthermore, less than half (47 percent) of respondents agree to having a collaborative learning system. However, the research shows that companies with higher growth rates have a higher percentage of collaborative practices.
According to the study, annual and semi-annual employee performance reviews are still carried out by two-thirds of European organisations. Nevertheless, regular or continuous review practices are appearing to become more popular for employee development (45 percent) and performance (28 percent).
“The breadth of the survey, as well as the group surveyed, gives us unique insight into people progression in the changing world of work,” said Vincent Belliveau, executive vice president and general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Cornerstone OnDemand.
“Better alignment between HR and line managers is required in order for HR to fully redefine its role as a strategic partner within the organisation. HR must adapt to navigate this fast-changing environment – with flexible working on the rise – whilst managing pressure from employees who have different expectations of their employer. Those who succeed will be those who empower their people to support the business through change and growth.”
“This massive survey revealed many interesting discoveries for us. For example, we found how important flexible working practices and the IT tools to support it are for loyalty and pride of talented employees and managers. IT for mobile and remote working, ability to use personal devices at work, and IT training were critical influencers in this respect.
“However, ‘freedom factors,’ such as permission to work remotely and ability to apply for new positions outside one’s own department, also had critical impact on employee happiness. We conclude that European organizations have work to do both in terms of technology investments as well as more flexible work cultures,” added Bo Lykkegaard at IDC.
For the study, IDC interviewed 1,352 HR professionals and business managers across 16 European countries working in organisations with more than 500 employees. The survey was conducted between January and February 2016 with respondents from the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Belgium.
Cornerstone will host a series of local events across Europe this summer to reveal the full results of this study with IDC. To register interest, please visit: The UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.