3 Talent Pools to Tap With Flex Work

Want to “cast a wider net,” tap new talent sources and hire a more diverse workforce?

Then offer more flex work options:

  • With unemployment edging down again in August (to 5.1 percent, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data), once-deep talent pools are rapidly drying up. Employers must find innovative ways to source in-demand professionals.
  • 2015 research from the Society for Human Resource Management indicates that 60 percent of employers now offer telecommuting options. If you’re not part of this majority, you’re putting yourself at a serious recruiting disadvantage.
  • Flexible work arrangements remove barriers that prevent many types of otherwise talented professionals from participating in the workforce. By broadening the ways you allow work to be accomplished, you broaden the scope of candidates you can attract.

3 Talent Pools You Can Tap with Flex Work

Military spouses. Many spouses of military workers are intelligent, creative and accomplished professionals, but they face unique struggles that make having a meaningful career extremely challenging. Frequent moves, unusual schedules and child care issues heighten military spouses’ need for flexibility. But while their careers must sometimes take a back seat to their spouses’, that doesn't mean they’re not highly qualified and ready to work:

In fact, a 2015 survey of more than 1,900 foreign-service workers’ family members indicated that:

  • Nearly 2 in 3 (64 percent) who were seeking employment were interested in telework.
  • Over half (52 percent) hold advanced degrees in areas like business management, information technology and communications.

Women. For a number of reasons — pregnancy, child rearing, caring for aging parents and other demands outside work — women desperately need flexibility. Yet, contrary to popular belief, women have not significantly transitioned into the kinds of flexible work arrangements they need:

  • According to a global LinkedIn study of more than 5,300 women, 74 percent believe in “having it all” — including a fulfilling career, relationship and children.
  • In the same study, 65 percent of women state that “flexible working would enable me to better manage my career and family,” and an additional 21 percent say it will be important when they have a family.
  • Still, men dominate telecommuting. Seventy-one percent of full-time teleworkers are currently male.

Anybody who lives more than 20 miles from your location. Is your organization located outside a major metropolitan area? If so, the local candidate pool may be shallow, and you may have trouble attracting high performers to your ZIP code.

But thanks to technology, geographical location and 9-to-5 availability don’t have to be "deal breakers" when recruiting. With the right approach (and the right work options), you can cast a wider net and attract talent from coast-to-coast — or even around the world.

How can you tap into these three talent pools?

Offer more telecommuting options.

  • When possible, allow employees to have some control over where and when they work. While not all types of work can be completed remotely, you could be overlooking options to increase flexibility for your employees. Critically examine roles and tasks companywide and determine where you could facilitate telework to enhance recruiting.
  • Invest in technology (i.e., cloud- or internet-based vehicles for storing, sharing and collaborating) and adjust processes to make it easier to complete work remotely. Sometimes a small adjustment or investment is all you need to make your job opportunities attractive to a wider range of professionals.
  • When you make work virtual, you automatically (and exponentially) broaden your talent pool. Instead of being forced to recruit within a 20-mile radius or pay hefty relocation fees, telecommuting allows you to tap talent from coast-to-coast — or even around the globe.

Offer greater schedule flexibility. For roles in which work must be performed on-site, find other ways to increase work flexibility. The most popular options include job sharing, compressed workweeks, flextime, part time/fractional positions and flexible start/stop times.

Showcase flexibility in your employment brand. Enlist your organization’s best writers to craft a flexibility “core story” for your organization:

  • Detail the process you used to develop your flex strategy, highlighting the role your employees played.
  • Explain how your strategy aligns with your mission and vision.
  • Clarify how flexibility offerings benefit both employees and your business. Making both sides of the case legitimizes your strategy.
  • Use this core story to consistently describe your flex strategy as part of your total employer brand.

Integrate flexibility offerings into your recruiting efforts. Once you’ve begun expanding your flex-work options, actively market them everywhere you connect with talent: on your website, job postings, social media accounts and more.

Make it clear that your organization welcomes and supports talented people who need flexibility and seek greater work-life satisfaction. By consistently sending the right message, you’ll attract high performers from new talent pools.

Need to “cast a wider net” and tap a deeper talent pool?

 Offering a range of professional staffing and search solutions, Mom Corps connects you with the talented professionals you need, right when you need them most. Contact your local Mom Corps office to learn more.