What to measure
When designing the measurement of your flexible working initiative it can be useful to think about the different categories of change you might want to know about. One way to do this is to use the categories below; outputs, outcomes and impacts. This allows you to measure basic outputs of the initiative, the immediate and medium-term changes, as well as long-term impacts.
Outputs: Change in business practice
The volume of change in work practices in your organisation. For example, the number of:
- roles eligible
- people using flexible working practices
- people using each type of flexible working practices.
Outcomes: Benefits for employees
The benefits or changes for employees as a result of the implementation of flexible working practices. For example, changes in:
- employee health
- work-life harmony
- stress levels
- amounts of exercise done
- relationships with colleagues
- engagement levels.
You can also measure individual evaluations of flexible working initiatives by looking at, for example:
- enablers and barriers to flexibility
- overall satisfaction with flexible work arrangements.
Impacts: Change in organisational results
The long-term changes in the organisation as a result of flexible working practices. For example, changes in:
- productivity – this could increase with more engaged, proactive employees
- staff absenteeism – this could reduce with an increased uptake of flexible working
- staff turnover – this could reduce with an increased uptake of flexible working
- office space overheads – this could reduce with an increased uptake of flexible working
Methods of data collection
Generally, a mixed method approach will produce the most valid and reliable results. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods means the strengths of each offset their weaknesses.
It is important that the results of these two approaches are integrated, and that the findings of the two methods of enquiry are not simply reported on separately. The value of mixed methods approaches is only fully realised when the findings from one method are used to inform and understand the results of the other.
There are many ways to gather information or data. Some of the most common ways include:
- focus groups
- using data captured on your HRS.
But as you get specific about what you want to learn about flexibility in your workplace, you can think of new and innovative ways of collecting the data you need.
Things to consider
Be careful what you measure
Poorly designed evaluations can be worse than not evaluating at all. Ultimately, you want to avoid finding there is a positive effect when in fact there isn’t, or claiming there isn’t a positive effect when there is.
Ethics and confidentiality
Any workplace evaluation must be designed to respect employees’ privacy. Where relevant, you should seek employees’ consent to collect data that may be sensitive to them, and provide assurances that the information will not be used for any purpose other than that for which it was collected. When possible, making the data anonymous can also help to protect people, without compromising the quality of the results. Additionally, by collecting anonymous data participants may be more honest in their contributions, rather than saying what they think you want to hear.