SINGAPORE (May 29): Offering flexible working hours is key to improving a company’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) effectiveness – not as a “female friendly” policy just for the benefit of working mothers, but simply a “family friendly” one.

This is according to professional recruiting group Hays plc, who says flexible working is a “highly effective tool” to achieving better diversity, and that it should be implemented early in the recruitment stage.

In a press release on Wednesday, the group also highlights the need for organisations to invest in effective communication of different working practices among the workforce.

This means senior management and business leaders should be properly informed about what their organisation can offer, actively promote these options to professionals, and where possible, lead by example themselves.

Sandra Henke, Group Head of People and Culture at Hays, highlights the need to create family-friendly policies instead of female-friendly one sin order to break down biases.

Such policies would in turn help organisations to achieve greater employee engagement and retention as well as gain access to a wider talent pool, she adds.

“Historically flexible working has been the domain of mothers balancing childcare with returning to work or a privilege which is earned through hard work and company loyalty, rather than an optional working practice,” explains Henke.

“The sooner businesses move away from [flexible working] solely being a gender issue and more of a business issue, will ultimately help businesses begin to solve the issue… A diverse and inclusive organisation will offer flexible working at the point of hire rather than later in employment.”