The Journal Gazette
Sunday, June 23, 2019 1:00 am

Survey: Firms offer flexibility to entice talent

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Flexible schedules and remote work options are helping some employers attract talent, results of a small survey suggest.

Flexible work is offered by 61% of 150 companies whose human resources staff participated in a three-week survey that ended this month.

Of those, 91% reported they offer flexible scheduling and 62% offer remote work options, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a Chicago-based outplacement and executive and business coaching firm.

Survey respondents represented companies of various sizes and industries nationwide.

Millennials and Generation Z workers expect a balance between work and life, and employers “will find they must respond with these offerings,” Andrew Challenger, a vice president with the firm, said in a statement.

Some companies are taking flexibility a step further, with 19% offering unlimited paid time off. The benefit has “recently gained popularity, especially at tech companies like Netflix, which offers this benefit to new parents for up to 12 months,” Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in a news release last week.

“Companies often find unlimited PTO is a benefit not only to the employee, but also to the company,” the firm said.

“These programs typically save the company money in accrued time-off payouts and are easier to administer for HR than traditional vacation programs.”

The unlimited time off gives workers flexibility to manage personal issues such as doctor's appointments to caring for children or parents or leisure activities.

Employers may be stretching more due to low unemployment creating a tight labor market.

Other survey highlights included:

• 43.3% said they have plenty of applicants, but those candidates do not have the requisite skills.

• 26.7% said they are not getting many applicants, and those who do apply are not qualified.

• 16.7% said they are not getting many applicants.

• 13.3% said they have plenty of applicants with the requisite skills.

“If the tight labor market continues, employers will have no choice but to respond to the expectations of the talent they are attempting to attract and retain,” the Challenger firm said.

Checking references

Many employers check the references of job candidates, but there's also a business model in checking the references.

An email this month touted the services of It suggested professional reference checking services are important because “a mediocre job reference” can cause an employer to offer a job to a competing candidate.

Providing incorrect information regarding the position title, employment dates or reason for separation could send the wrong message to a prospective employer, according to the release.

“Even factors like a delayed return phone call or the tone in a reference's voice can have the same effect,” the release said.

Having good references is a basic need, but many candidates don't take the time to ensure that the references submitted to prospective employers are “providing the type of recommendation expected and that will result in a successful job transition.” 

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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