Flexibility is an important part of BNZ’s people strategy, and the organisation is committed to providing flexible work options for everyone.
To 60% of women, flexibility is an important consideration when choosing a role at BNZ. This statistic supports the importance of flexible work in attracting top talent in today’s world of work.
In 2014 BNZ launched an ‘All Roles Flexible’ approach for employees throughout New Zealand, where all jobs were to be advertised with a flexible work option.
Yet, following the launch of the initiative and a more in-depth follow up, it was found that only 30% of roles were actually being advertised with flexible work options.
Initial barrier to success: management mindset
It wasn’t that managers didn’t support the concept of flexible working, but for 70% of managers they had a reason why they didn’t think the particular job they were advertising, at that time, in their particular circumstances with set business pressures, could be done flexibly.
The change agent: compulsory all roles flexible (and an if not, why not approach)
As CEO and leader, Anthony Healy recognised his role in needing to lead the change. As such, he dug in further to determine what needed to shift. The first thing off the ranks was the approach, where rather than an opt-in policy to flexibility, they launched a compulsory ‘all roles flexible’ approach, where all roles had to be advertised as flexible – unless, there was a really good business reason as to why not, and that reason needed to be documented and reported at a senior level.
Results: more than doubled the participation rate
With this new approach and added layer of accountability – including a group effort to remove any internal structural impediments – the number of roles advertised with flexible work options increased from 30% to 80%.
Learnings: active leadership and accountability
While there is little disagreement to the benefits of flexibility and the broad platform of diversity, business leaders need to be more active and do more to ensure strategy is executed effectively. Change must be driven from the top. As a senior leader, you need to get out into the business and check the policy is being implemented, and if not, dig deeper to find out why not.