Ideas: Encourage Flexible Hours

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “Handle with CARE: Motivating and Retaining Employees” (McGraw-Hill 2002.)

According to an article in “Success in Recruiting & Retaining” newsletter in July 2000, Randstad consultants found in a study of more than 6000 North American employees that 51% of employees would stay in their current jobs rather than switch if their employer offered flexible working hours.  62% prefer a boss who understands when they need to leave work for personal reasons over one who could help them grow professionally.  Most surprisingly, 51% of employees surveyed prefer a job that offers flexible hours to one that offers an opportunity for advancement.  The bottom line:  “Employers can gain a critical advantage in recruiting and retaining employees by examining ways to integrate flexibility into all corners of the organization.  Two of the simplest:

  • Allow for a portable office with Internet and wireless technology.
  • Offer nontraditional schedules beyond the 9 to 5 workday.”


  • At Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, decided to try a new way to retain nurses and recruit new ones:  Give them the same schedule as their school-age children.  They now have the option of working for either 12 months a year or just nine.  They keep their benefits but do not earn pay during the summer.
  • At Columbia Bank in Columbia, Maryland, bank tellers can now choose to take off the summer while keeping their jobs, vacation time, and benefits.  Such leaves are approved as long as a replacement teller is available.  Employees report higher job satisfaction and the bank boasts high retention rates as a result.
  • Ernst & Young is so zealous about keeping employees that it has created an Office for Retention.  A poll of all employees on flexible schedules found that 65% would have left the firm without them.
  • BI Performance Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota, gives associates the opportunity to work summer hours.  In Minnesota, the winter is long and cold.  Summer hours allows the associate to work one hour longer Monday through Thursday and then have Friday afternoon off to enjoy!
  • A fun, flexible workforce with lots of lifestyle perks is a strong pull, especially for many young recruits.  Northrup Grumman Corporations’s generous vacation package, flexible work schedule, and company sports leagues have enticed many college students who sacrifice big money in favor of lifestyle perks.  One college graduate who went to work for Northrup Grumman says that another employer could double his salary, but he’d probably decline if it meant giving up the perks!

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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