As recruiters, we have the inside scoop on what sways people to choose one role over another. Did you know over 81% of Kiwis believe that flexible working arrangements will directly influence their next employment decision?

In recent years, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in the labour market towards more flexible and remote working arrangements as people are now focusing on prioritising a healthy work-life balance. At Grada, we wholeheartedly support this trend and have taken steps to implement it within our own business. That’s why we now offer 100% flexible working and unlimited paid annual leave to all staff members. While this approach may seem unconventional to some, it has proven to be highly effective for us. 

If you’re curious to know how we arrived at this decision and what impact it has had on our company, you’re in luck! We recently sat down with one of our directors, James Stevenson, to discuss the motivation behind this policy shift and how it has affected our business. 

What do 100% flexible working arrangements mean to Grada? 
We define flexible working as the ability to complete 40 hours of work at any location or any time over the course of a week. We have a great office set-up that almost all staff use as a hub and main place of work, but our team members are free to work remotely whenever they choose.  

Let’s face it, with the recent traffic congestion in Auckland as well as the unpredictable weather events, at times coming to work has been inconvenient at best and impossible at worst, our team are able to stay home and maintain their productivity without the added stress of travel or concerns about their homes. 

We do ask that our staff members provide notice if they plan to work remotely, as we often schedule team events and training that require coordination (especially for our junior staff who generally need to attend training and events more often). However, we know life can be unpredictable, and we will always strive to be accommodating as possible to the needs of our team. 

Has Grada always offered unlimited annual leave or is this a recent addition? 
In the past, Grada has offered unlimited annual leave exclusively to our senior staff members as we knew they were well-equipped to manage their clients, candidates, and workload. However, we have since come to the understanding that ALL our team members are highly trustworthy and completely capable of managing their work and home life effectively. As a result, we decided to extend the benefits of flexible working arrangements and unlimited annual leave to all staff members in the middle of 2022. 

Have you noticed an increase in employee retention and job satisfaction since offering these benefits?
Absolutely! We regularly conduct internal surveys to gain insight from staff members and the feedback we’ve had has been extremely positive, this is also reflected in our high retention rate and that over half of our staff have been with us for 3+ years. 

A success story is the way we have been able to reintegrate our office manager into her role after maternity leave at a pace that suits her. This arrangement has allowed her to work from home, balancing her workload and motherhood responsibilities. This has been ideal for both of us as we really didn’t want to lose an integral team member, and she did not have to worry about juggling her new life! 

Are you worried about your team misusing the offer of unpaid annual leave and flexible working?
Not really. Our team has demonstrated their ability to handle their time responsibly on multiple occasions, and we have complete confidence in them. Additionally, since we operate in the sales industry, it’s easy to detect if someone is not performing, and if we observe a decline in productivity we will immediately take action to ensure they get back on track.  

At Grada, we don’t define productivity by the number of hours you spend slogging away at a desk, for us productivity is the energy, enthusiasm, and positivity you bring to your work. We encourage our team members to take the breaks they need, whether that’s taking an extended holiday or simply an extended lunch break. We prioritise results over the number of hours worked, and if an individual has accomplished their work and met their goals, we are satisfied regardless of how they arrived at this outcome. 

Do you believe that all companies should adopt these policies in the future?
Off the bat, no… Not all businesses should/could adopt the high trust model that Grada utilises. It is a model that aligns with Grada’s identity and management style, but it may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, it wouldn’t work for professional services that heavily rely on billable hours and require employees to be available during specific hours. It can also be tricky in a high collaboration environment, which Grada is to an extent, however, once again it comes down to the ability of staff to manage their time and commitments responsibly. 

Final thoughts?
At Grada, we understand the importance of work-life balance and the positive impact it has on our team’s overall well-being and job performance. By offering 100% flexible working arrangements and unlimited annual leave, we have seen a significant increase in employee retention and productivity. 

We’re always on the lookout for new team members, if this sounds like a workplace you could be a part of then head to our contact page to speak to one of our directors today!

Talk soon,