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A new survey by Bupa has revealed that three-fifths of employees working for small and medium sized organisation believe that flexible working patterns will make them happier and more motivated in their role, resulting in improved staff retention.

The new research shows that SME employees view flexibility as a key benefit in their working role, with 51% of those questioned saying that not offering such benefits as flexible working damages an employer’s attractiveness to new recruits.

Retention of key skills

Despite the right to request flexible working patterns being extended earlier this year to include all employees and not just those with caring responsibilities, only 32% of employees believe their employers will seriously consider and accept their request.

In fact, many employees are put off making a request, with almost two in five (37%) worried that they could lose their job altogether if they request to work flexibly.

Richard Norris, SME director at Bupa, acknowledged that not every job lends itself to flexible working but urges organisation to support it where possible, as it can bring business benefits such as attracting top talent, enhancing staff productivity and increased staff retention.

He says: “SMEs can often make changes more easily than larger organisations and they should embrace the opportunity to ensure their benefits appeal to their current and potential employees.”

“The power of the benefits package in attracting, motivating and retaining employees should not be underestimated. Those who do so face the very real risk that talent could be lost to competitors.

Adapting to employee’s needs

The new research highlights that many small businesses are not taking full advantage of their ability to be adaptable to their employees’ needs. The reason for this is that many organisations don’t know how best to manage flexible working patterns, putting staff retention at risk.

Time and Attendance systems enable businesses to respond to individual requests and confidently introduce and manage flexible working patterns consistently throughout the organisation.

The latest systems enable employers to organise staff schedules with greater accuracy while all data is presented in a timely fashion so managers can gain instant visibility of the business and measure attendance levels as it happens

Scheduling features also enable managers to gain a true understanding of the potential impact that new requests will have on existing staffing levels, future workflows and costs before choosing to accept or decline.

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