Lion and IAG: Saying yes to Flexible Working works for all
Lion and IAG: Saying yes to Flexible Working works for everyone
To improve working environments for Kiwis and drive positive outcomes for business, Lion NZ and IAG New Zealand have come together to encourage more businesses to say “Yes to Flex”.
The two companies are part of a wider working group of established businesses sharing best practice on flexible working to find new ways of making the solution more viable for people and business.
The companies are proud to celebrate International Flexible Working Day on June 6, and say the flexible working policies they have in place have benefited both the businesses and their staff. More and more people across the world are attributing work-life balance as a key drawcard for joining a business and both IAG and Lion have seen huge increases in staff engagement - with those people working flexibly scoring items consistently higher than those that don’t.
Despite the importance Kiwi job hunters now put on flexibility, there is a shortage of quality flexible jobs out there that pay fairly and allow for career progression. Only around 10% of jobs advertised on the main Kiwi job sites are part time and none are identified by ‘flexibility’.
Lion’s People and Culture Director, Robin Davies, says the company’s award-winning “LionFlex” policy - which includes flexibility around location, leave entitlement, role and schedules - is now being used by almost half of its people. It has also led to engagement rates of 90%.
“Our people are at the heart of our business and we want to ensure we meet their needs,” says Davies.
“Having flexible working arrangements allows Lion people to enjoy all aspects of their lives, and contributes to their wellbeing. This flows through to high engagement within the company, and benefits us as a business through increased performance and people willing to go the extra mile. Flex is one thing that really attracts people to Lion and is a key reason they stay with us, particularly around key moments in their lives like parenthood, unwell family members or dealing with mental wellbeing.”
IAG’s General Manager Future Workforce Strategy, Cat Boyd, says the company’s programme “MyFlex” has demonstrated increased productivity and wellbeing outcomes when people are enabled to work more flexibly. Engagement scores across the business have also increased over the same period the programme was rolled out, with MyFlex seen as a key influencer of that.
“We know the traditional 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday model is not a one-size-fits-all,” says Boyd.
“Similarly, we recognise that while not every type of flex will work for every role, our vision is that everyone has access to some form of flex.
“MyFlex evolves our workforce model. It gives us access to a broader, more diverse pool of talent compared to more rigid employment model which have become outdated.
“People in our organisation who are working flexibly regularly report reduced travel times, ease of getting to work, a reduction in stress and an increase in overall wellbeing. We anticipate that these workforce benefits will have a positive impact on our customers, too.”
The working group is exploring flexible working best practice, and has found attitudes still need to be shifted to ensure programmes are well implemented.
Both IAG and Lion’s programmes require managers to ‘start with a yes’ if people request flexible working arrangements. This has contributed to a shift in conversation and attitudes towards flex.
According to Davies in order for flex to be successful, change needs to come from the top down: “We had to put real effort into shifting attitudes internally so no one felt bad about leaving at 3pm, or working outside the office. We started showcasing it from our senior leaders. Our Managing Director decided he wanted to start later so he could drop his daughter off to school, while one of our Director’s started working remotely from his home down in the Hawkes Bay. That started to have a flow on effect, with team members feeling more comfortable about following suit. Flex is now the norm.”
Boyd agrees. “We encourage our leaders to talk openly about flexible working with the whole team. This allows teams to work together to find a way to accommodate peoples’ flexible working needs, without compromising our customer service. Similarly, leaders are encouraged to role-model flex which helps to break down any of the stigma around flexible working arrangements, and shows that flex is just part of the way we work at IAG.”
“MyFlex means our people have choice,” Boyd continues. “From the team at our AMI Matamata branch who flex their hours so they can spend more time with their grandkids, to one of our contact centre staff in Christchurch who has a hearing impairment and finds working from home a quiet and more productive environment. We’re really committed to ensuring our people have access to flexible working options that work for them, their team and the wider business.”
International Flexible Working Day is on the 6th of June 2018 and aims to celebrate the benefits of flexible work for both people and organisations. The day also marks a call to action to tackle flexism.
About IAG New Zealand
IAG is the leading general insurance provider in New Zealand, predominantly under the State, AMI and NZI brands. IAG insures around 47% of the general insurance market and has more than 4000 people servicing the needs of our customers through a variety of channels - nationwide branches, call centres, sales sites, and online.