Flexible working arrangements as a strategy for attracting and retaining skilled employees.

Flexible work arrangements as a strategy for attracting and retaining skilled employees. (Source – Shutterstock).

Are flexible working arrangements the key to retaining and recruiting skilled staff?

  • Flexible working arrangements have become crucial for attracting and keeping skilled staff.
  • Rapid tech advances are driving CIOs to focus on building strong, scalable, user-friendly networks for growth.
  • CIOs are upbeat about growth, despite recruitment challenges and changing market conditions.

The rapid advancement of technology, along with an increase in digital devices and applications, has significantly altered our work habits. Flexible, hybrid, and remote working models have become standard for many, emphasizing the critical role of the chief information officer (CIO) in navigating these changes and focusing on organizational growth.

CIOs have proven resilient and optimistic post-pandemic. Research from Expereo shows a notable increase in positivity among CIOs about their businesses’ future growth, rising from 52% to 64% over the past year. However, global enterprises face challenges in recruiting skilled workers for international expansion, with nearly a third struggling in this area.

Flexible working arrangements: a necessity for talent retention in APAC

In the APAC region, over half of the CIOs stress the importance of flexible working arrangements for retaining and attracting top talent. Eric Wong of Expereo highlights the necessity for companies in this region to adapt to the demands of a globally dispersed workforce to drive growth. He emphasizes the need for businesses to quickly adjust their network dynamics to meet diverse connectivity needs, as more people work from different locations.

“More people will now work from different locations and it’s crucial for the business to have the capability to adapt the dynamics of the network quickly to cater to diverse connectivity needs,” Wong added.

Organizations must evolve into cloud-based, data-centric digital entities to foster innovation and improve productivity. This transformation requires robust network and connectivity solutions tailored to current and future needs.

Optimism prevails among CIOs regarding their companies’ futures, with nearly two-thirds expressing confidence in business growth. This is further supported by over half securing increased technology investment budgets from their boards. Particularly in larger companies, CIOs are largely positive, expecting stability or growth, which contrasts with recent workforce reductions in some major tech firms.

The focus of technological investments has shifted in the past year, adapting to the evolving market landscape.

APAC CIOs are proactively investing to address their primary concerns: enhancing security and phasing out outdated systems. But some challenges are more complex, involving cultural changes and financial investments, such as recruiting and retaining talent, increasing local market understanding, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Sector-specific challenges arise when considering expansion into new markets.

The biggest challenges facing businesses’ global expansion in new regions include talent recruitment and retention.

The biggest challenges facing businesses’ global expansion in new regions. (Source – Expereo)

For 42% of APAC CIOs, recruiting a workforce with the right blend of business acumen and technological expertise is a significant challenge.

A notable portion of these CIOs (32%) find it challenging to recruit team members with appropriate governance and regulatory compliance skills. Skills in emerging fields like data analytics, cybersecurity, AI/ML, and app development are among the most challenging to find.

Hybrid and remote work policies have been a boon for 44% of APAC CIOs, allowing them to recruit from a broader geographic talent pool. Interestingly, a higher percentage of APAC CIOs compared to the global average have teams dispersed across various countries.

Challenges and opportunities of flexible working

The shift in work models has been pivotal, with over half of APAC CIOs viewing flexible working as essential for attracting and retaining top talent. This approach has let IT leaders access a global talent pool, with nearly a third of APAC CIOs hiring team members they haven’t met in person.

Research shows that working three days or fewer in the office has become standard for most businesses in APAC, primarily driven by the rising cost of living. However, some CIOs anticipate increasing office workdays due to productivity and home connectivity concerns.

The balance between access to skilled employees and operational demands poses challenges for many APAC CIOs. Ensuring consistent application performance and providing round-the-clock support across various locations and time zones are significant pressures.

Eric Wong emphasizes the importance of appropriate technology to support connectivity and collaboration in remote work environments. He says “Ultimately, hybrid working is all about staying connected and enabling interaction with colleagues and customers, regardless of where you are in the world.”

An X user shares their opinion on the future of flexible working arrangements.

An X user shares their opinion on the future of flexible working arrangements. (Source – X).

The importance of technology supporting connectivity

CIOs possess a distinct vision for their ideal enterprise network: one that is consistently robust, guaranteeing zero downtime for uninterrupted operations. Equally important is the network’s flexibility, enabling it to adapt swiftly to evolving market conditions and user requirements.

Another fundamental requirement is a consistently high performance, characterized by stable latency and reliable delivery regardless of demand levels. Scalability is equally critical, allowing for capacity adjustments as business needs dictate. CIOs also value a user-friendly, reconfigurable and manageable network that allows for the streamlining of administrative tasks and the boosting of overall efficiency.

Delivering a flawless user experience is crucial. However, balancing these network attributes is essential, given that their prioritization can shift over time and differ across various sectors.

The evolving nature of work significantly drives the demand for a more adaptable and scalable IP network.

The pandemic has redefined organizational boundaries, leading numerous global companies to embrace a hybrid working model. In diverse countries and industries, nearly half of CIOs support hybrid work setups. Notably, 41% of them observe that both current and new employees anticipate the option to work remotely.

Facilitating remote work while ensuring the same security and performance level as in-office employees compounds the connectivity challenges for CIOs. A dynamic network solution becomes essential, allowing for the rapid redistribution of workloads globally whenever needed.