It is important for any company to be flexible and utilize workers fully. Workplace flexibility is the ability of an employer and employees to make changes to meet individual and business needs. Moreover, it is essential for the organization to implement flexible work programs that will give more opportunities to the employees. One can distinguish two main types of workplace flexibility: functional and geographical. Functional flexibility is the ability of the company to involve employees in other responsibilities and duties to benefit it. It allows employees to combine competencies and skills and become more productive and efficient. Geographical flexibility is the involvement of the diverse employees in the workplace. First, the diverse employees are more creative and responsible. Secondly, they are ready to any changes within the company (Pitt-Catsouphes, Matz-Costa & Besen 2009).
The advantage of functional flexibility for the employer is that it helps change the direction of competencies and skills and provide the development and growth. The disadvantage of functional flexibility for the employer is that it can have a negative impact on the business as the employees can fail to fulfil the new responsibilities and duties. The advantage of functional flexibility for the employees is that it makes the workplace environment more dynamic and helps retain most valuable of them. The disadvantage of functional flexibility for employees is that they can deal with a large number of diverse responsibilities that are beyond their competencies. The advantage of geographical flexibility is evident for both employer and employees (Pitt-Catsouphes, Matz-Costa & Besen 2009). First, it strengthens commitment. Second, it increases loyalty and provides the choice for workers. The disadvantage of geographical flexibility is that it can lead to misunderstanding between an employer and diverse employees in questions of corporate culture and social responsibility.
For example, JP Morgan Chase found that 95% of employees felt more motivated when they worked in the flexible functional workplace. Moreover, one can distinguish the following organizational situations that will demand the workplace flexibility. First, when the work force of the company is aging, and there are not enough workers to replace them. The second organizational case is when the workplace is diverse. Consequently, workplace flexibility is necessary to attract and retain the talented employees, raise morale, and increase job satisfaction. Moreover, any workplace flexibility can make people more engaged, improve business results, and increase productivity. It is evident that if the company is flexible, it will attract more investors and new employees.
It is a good initiative of the government to encourage employers to take employees as apprentices. Consequently, apprenticeship should become the part of company’s Human Resource Management to bring the benefits and increase productivity and performance. Apprentices are those individuals who combine working with studying and have not enough experience. New or current employees can be apprentices. However, the value of apprenticeship is that it provides the company with the workers adapted to its needs and objectives. Moreover, apprenticeship requires learning job-specific skills, working with experienced staff, and studying for the work-based qualification. Working as HR Manager presupposes understanding the value of treating employees as apprentices. First, apprenticeship can be an answer to recruitment difficulties and skills shortages. Second, apprenticeship benefits the development of the employee staff as it presupposes work-based training programmes (Lerman 2014).
One can set up the following schemes of apprenticeship. First, it is recommended to implement a contract of apprenticeship. Its purpose is to learn and train the skills necessary for the job. Moreover, such apprenticeship can be used for attaining a relevant qualification with the help of work experience. Second, such scheme as an apprenticeship agreement should be incorporated. It means that apprentices are treated as normal employees. Moreover, it is necessary to use the agreement in a prescribed form. Third, the scheme of modern apprenticeship is recommended. It is not less important than other models but it presupposes the involvement of the employer, apprentice, and training provider. Such variety of schemes proves that the government simplifies the law governing apprenticeships bringing the benefits to the employers and the companies. The strength of this procedure is that it allows employers to train both existing and new employees (Lerman 2014).
The advantages of apprenticeships refer to gaining the skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed in any area. It gives the valuable experience in regard to the working practices and real possibilities to put the skills into practice. Another advantage of apprenticeship is that learning presupposes also earning money and gaining new experience (Lerman 2014). Moreover, the apprenticeship provides the choice to both employee and employer and offers a varied learning experience. However, the implementation of the diverse schemes of apprenticeship has its disadvantages. The starting salary of apprentice can be lower than that of a graduate. Moreover, he/she does not receive access to the certain career opportunities using the apprenticeship route. However, it does not diminish the value and role of apprenticeships for the employers and the companies. Consequently, the organizations should practise the usage of apprentices.
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The public sector has limited spending compared to the private one. It means that they have fewer opportunities to increase employees’ salaries and motivate them to work better. Consequently, non-financial rewards will be more relevant for the public sector. Non-financial recognition is the identification of the individual employees for particular acknowledgement or praise. One can distinguish many forms of non-financial rewards. For example, managers can thank the staff for their work. It will be the act of respect from his/her side. Moreover, the employees will feel that they are necessary, and their work is valuable. The managers can also write formally to record appreciation. Another way of non-financial reward is declaring the individual employee of the month or year. It means that this employee can become the example for following and inspire others to work better. One should mention that public appreciation of the employee or team also refers to the non-financial rewards. It can be represented in the form of a special dinner for the workers or an organizational newsletter (Silverman 2004).
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Non-financial appreciation can bring more pleasant to the employees than financial one when it presupposes the variety and diversity. Consequently, retail or travel vouchers and recreational facilities can inspire the employees to be more committed to their work. Moreover, HR managers can suggest meals for the team, cinema or theatre tickets, and reserved car parking space that will prove that employees are valuable for the company (Silverman 2004). It is evident that the types of non-financial recognition are various. The main aim, in this case, is to adapt them to the employees’ needs and interests. Nomination-based schemes, vouchers, and praise are considered to be the most used non-financial rewards.
Praise is a personal acknowledgement by managers to employees for a good performance and high productivity. Praise can be formal and informal. However, the frequency of its usage determines the quality of management practice. Voucher schemes are also widespread and popular among employees. Voucher schemes give employees a choice and are the double reward. Nomination-based schemes are also widely used by the companies. They refer to personal achievement, leadership, motivation, supporting colleagues, service improvement, and delivering the corporate strategy (Silverman 2004). All these non-financial rewards will improve the performance and bring consistently high achievements. However, HR managers should apply non-financial recognition for exceptional teamwork and contributions, innovation, performance improvements, actions above and beyond the personal duties, and delivering excellent services.