ARTICLES

Mr. D.P. Singh


Vice President & HR Head- India/SA at IBM HR Consultant


Rajiv Tewari, Founder, Media4Media for www.mykindofjob.com

22nd February 2016


IBM supports flexible working options for a better work- life balance

As one of the world’s top employers IBM is known & respected for its sensitivity to its work force. Rajiv Tewari decided to check out how sensitive IBM is about the daily commute the employees have to go through for simply reaching their offices in India for jobs which did not require regular physical presence.

We are sharing the excerpts of a free flowing interview with Mr DP Singh, Vice President & HR Head- India/SA at IBM . Mr DP Singh's experience spans across employee relations & labour relations, workforce management,talent acquisition, talent development, succession planning and organization development.

Do you allow flexi timing option to your employees? Is the IBM flexi timing policy restricted to a few categories of employees? If so which are these categories? Are you planning to extend the facility of flexi timing to some other categories also in future?
IBM is committed to creating a supportive, flexible work environment that gives employees flexibility and control over their work as long as business objectives are achieved as established by their immediate manager. We offer a range of flexible work options – work-at-home, telecommuting, leave of absence, part time working, etc. – to enable employees to meet their personal needs. The use of these options requires the employee and their manager to balance the needs of the business and the employee.

Can you share your experience about the areas where flexi timing has been most successful in the Indian context?
In today's competitive business environment, employees seek jobs that not only offer financial security, but also have autonomy, meaning and the opportunity for development and advancement. Employees also want time to pursue personal interests and enjoy time outside of the workplace. In our internal employee surveys, our employees across generations, across business units report that “Flexibility in where and when work gets done is the most important work-life offering” is a true testimony that our efforts towards work-life is working and successful. Also, the ability for women returning from maternity to avail part time work option has received positive response from our women employees.

How does the concept of flexi timing work in IBM? Do you also encourage work from home in certain categories of employment?
IBM has robust flexible work option policy and an enabling ecosystem which can be leveraged as suitable for the job role and in approval with the manager. We have detailed guidelines for employees while considering flexible work options and guidelines for managers while approving flexible work option request from our employees. The Work-Life Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for managers and employees to learn about IBM's work-life principles, guidelines, programs, and education.Work-life is a shared responsibility between employees and managers requiring open communication and partnership. We have various flexibility education offerings to our managers to encourage them to support their employees on the Flexible Work Option requests which includes Work fromHome as well.

How has the policy of flexi timing impacted your productivity and what is its affect on enagement?
Innovative flexible work options are enabling IBMers to create the lives they want by devising individual work schedules that integrate their professional and personal responsibilities. This kind of flexibility also enables IBM to better serve its clients, meeting their needs when and where they exist.This flexibility is fast becoming a reason why people are attracted to and stay at IBM. On any given day, worldwide, one-third of our people are not at an IBM location - they are working onsite with customers, telecommuting, or are mobile.

Our work life program offers innovative solutions to address workload, dependent care, collaboration, and connecting with our clients - both inside and outside of IBM. These policies have helped our employees to reduce stress, enhance commitment, increase productivity and focus.

What would you like to tell the HR fraternity about the advantages and disadvantages of flexi timing? How do you think it should be managed in the best interest of the employers and employees?
It is increasingly important to break traditional barriers of work and evolve into a flat, hierarchy free work environment. Much of the IBM’s social platforms are accessible on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. We have a Bring Your Own Device policy that encourages our employees to use flexible work options. We have employee jams (live chats) that have brought together the leadership team and our entire workforce on a single chat platform for free flow conversations on topics. Creating a supportive, flexible work environment that gives employees more flexibility and control over their work as an important means to achieve greater work/life balance and enhanced productivity.

IBM views investment in work life tools and programs as a marketplace differentiator and something that helps the organization attract, motivate and

Would you like to add something which might have been left out of this questionnaire?
At IBM, our innovative flexibility policies and practices enable anyone- not just someone with family commitments- to integrate work and life successfully. This is something we are extremely proud of and see ourselves as an industry leader in!

 

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Mr. D.P. Singh

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