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No two days – or two clients – are the same when it comes to creating flexible workplaces across the country! We meet clients at all different stages of their journey, and as is often the case within businesses that have experienced growth – fast – we are asked to help just as a busy business owner comes up for air.

This was the case for our client Rose Barbarich from General Collective. Her inspiring business growth story of humble beginnings, started in 2014 with the joining of forces of ‘creative’ friends with lovely home and fashion wares to sell.  Over the next 5 years her concept snowballed.  She now has an ever-growing following with thousands of market-goers at each event, attracting in excess of 380 independent designers and creatives from across New Zealand to secure their event stalls.

Working flexibly wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice, but instead a natural consequence of growing a business with fluctuations in busy periods, where contractors are engaged to pick up the overflow. It was when Rose came up for air between events, and was about to hire her first employee, that she identified she needed help with some HR foundations, including employment contracts, and formalising her Flexible Working Policy.

“Given my lack of knowledge in this area as well as being time-poor running my own business it really was key having someone manage this process to ensure that all requirements were covered” said Rose.

What stood out for us after partnering with General Collective, was that no matter the size of the business, the stage in the journey, or the reason for embracing flexible ways of working, there are 4 core areas of focus that every business will need to address at some point in order to be a ‘genuine’ flexible workplace. We ask our clients:

 

1.      Is your everyday HR in order? 

Whether you’re a busy owner of a fast-growing business like Rose, or you have simply come to the realisation that you don’t have the right HR documents and policies in place to meet your legal obligations as an employer, getting your HR house in order lays the foundations for a strong company culture and a consistent approach to flexible working.

 

2.      Are you as business leader, and your leadership team on-board?

As with any culture change, all the good intentions and policies in the world won’t get you any traction without the backing of, and role-modelling by your leaders. If your leaders flex, your team will follow.

 

3.      Do you manage by output?

Set clear expectations with your people, set goals with them, give live, regular feedback and practice being a coach, not a manager. This way, your people feel empowered and you have visibility of outputs being delivered, regardless of when or where the work is getting done.

 

4.      Do you recruit the best fit?

Could you currently be at risk of completely overlooking the best person for the job by having a fixed mindset about where and when the job is performed? Having flexible roles and a flexible approach in general will not only allow you to tap into a whole pool of talent you otherwise wouldn’t have, but it will make you a more attractive employer all round.

 

It’s working with clients with inspiring stories like Rose’s, that makes my work day so interesting and means I can take my learning from one client’s journey with me to the next.

For any assistance with everyday HR, get in touch with me at kerryn@freerangeworks.co.nz or on 021 421 952.

General Collective offers a variety of bespoke market experiences in a range of locations, bringing makers, designers and creatives together for one day to showcase unique homewares, jewellery, fashion, skincare, handmade toys, linen, furniture, ceramics, artisan food and street food.