80% business leaders in India feel pressured to offer greater flexibility today: Study

9 in 10 leaders feel flexible policies can help them hire diverse, top talent

80% business leaders in India feel pressured to offer greater flexibility today: Study - CIO&Leader

While 80% of business leaders in India feel pressured to offer greater flexibility since COVID-19, with employees (58%), managers (41%), and the government (37%), the top three contributors of this pressure, leaders are confident of the benefits that happier employees, and hiring from a more diverse talent pool will bring, according to LinkedIn’s Future of Work study.

The study focuses on the insights of 736 business leaders in India and what they think about the future of work, their flexibility offerings, the challenges they foresee, and their plans to solve them.

Flexible working has emerged as a top priority in the new world of work, and business leaders see this as an opportunity to hire more diverse talent and improve business performance. Nearly 9 in 10 leaders in India have hired specialists to design stronger workplace policies, to re-evaluate everything from L&D opportunities to performance reviews and career progression through a new lens — one that puts people first and not location. To support this shift in the way we work, LinkedIn is launching new platform tools to help job-seekers find opportunities that match their preferences and their need for a more flexible work environment,” says Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn.

Business leaders in India most confident in Asia Pacific in leading a distributed workforce

Amid today’s burgeoning demand for flexibility, business leaders are actively creating new workplace policies that give employees more agency over how they work and where they work from today. The study shows that 88% have also hired specialists, consultants, and additional personnel to help design their workplace policies for the future of work.

Preparing for the new hybrid work culture, 9 in 10 business leaders in India have already offered or are planning to offer job sharing possibilities, while 78% have already offered or are planning to allow employees to work from a different country. The study also shows that India is leading in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region when it comes to offering flexibility; in comparison, only 68% of APAC leaders offer job shares and 58% allow the staff to work from a different country.

Deploying transformative workplace policies is not easy, and business leaders in India do foresee concerns with offering greater flexibility such as substandard quality work (39%), lesser collaboration between employees (37%), and dented customer experience (36%). Despite challenges, 83% of India’s business leaders are confident about leading a distributed workforce, when compared to 66% of leaders in the APAC region.

Flexible policies improve workforce diversity; 93% believe younger employees key to business success

The ongoing remote reality has made it easier for companies to hire professionals with more distinct backgrounds and diversified skill sets today. The survey shows that 9 in 10 business leaders believe flexible work policies can help them hire not just diverse, but also the best talent. More than half of business leaders in India also believe virtual interviews can help them connect with aspirants with proximity restrictions (55%), find a more diverse mix of candidates (45%), and professionals with modern skills (49%) today.

The study also reveals that ‘digital transformation’, ‘rethinking marketing strategy’, and ‘establishing new ways of working’ are the top three business priorities for business leaders. These priorities

come at a time when leaders choose social media (69%) and other online advertising (57%) over ATL and print (42%) in today’s remote reality. Further, 93% of India’s leaders also believe that having younger employees on the team gives them fresh insights into new marketing trends, especially as they continue to adapt their marketing strategies.

‘Happy employees’ as important as ‘excellent customer service, say 63% leaders

The study shows that 3 in 5 leaders believe having ‘happy and fulfilled employees’ (62%) is just as important as ‘excellent customer service’ (63%) to drive strong business results today. Therefore, ‘helping employees adapt to new ways of working’ and ‘keeping them happy and engaged’ are cited as the key workforce priorities for leaders in the next six months.

To keep employees engaged and prepared for the future of work, 9 in 10 (89%) business leaders are investing in training courses that facilitate employee collaboration and productivity in a flexible

working environment. In fact, 1 in 2 leaders are relying on increased L&D investments to help employees upgrade their skills (52%), move easily into internal roles (52%), and learn together in a community-based environment (52%).

Business leaders also believe that a sharper focus on empathy can boost collaboration among distributed workforces. The study shows that 1 in 2 (50%) leaders in India feels that encouraging small talk at the start of meetings, and empathetic conversations led by managers (46%) can foster inclusion among employees, regardless of their locations.

New LinkedIn tools to signal flexible work preferences, company workplace policies, and side hustles

As the need for better flexibility and greater fulfillment becomes top priority for the workforce, LinkedIn has launched new platform tools to help job seekers signal their preferred flexible working model, learn more about workplace policies, and effectively manage their side hustle projects.

  • New #OpenToWork filters to attract relevant opportunities: Professionals can now use filters for remote, hybrid, or onsite roles within Job Search and the #OpenToWork feature on their profiles. They can also use these filters to set relevant job alerts and preferences for the way they want to work, especially as the professional landscape prepares for a flexible working environment.
  • Highlight vaccination norms and work policies via Company Pages: Employers will now be able to highlight office policies, benefits, vaccination requirements via Company Pages to attract the best hires, comfortably. Professionals can use this to gain more insight into workforce policies on Company Pages, so they can learn more about the companies they are interested in.
  • All-new Services Marketplace to manage freelance projects effectively: LinkedIn has launched a new ‘Services Marketplace’ for professionals who seek more flexibility than what a traditional job can offer. Freelancers, contractors, and small business owners can now set up their Service Page directly from their profile, manage their projects, and promote specific skills and services of their businesses.

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