Our recent FairPlay Business networking event was another sell out. Kindly hosted by S|3 Advertising at their unique office space in central Cardiff, we welcomed guests with drinks and canapés for an evening of networking and insights into the practical realities of implementing Results Based Working.
What is results based working?
In a nutshell Results-Based Working – also known as agile working – aims to increase productivity by giving employees the freedom to work in the manner that suits them best, as long as they deliver agreed outcomes.
Guest Speaker Lorna Virgo, Finance Director at Amber Energy, is a strong advocate for the value that results based working can have on organisations and their staff. Lorna previously worked at Chwarae Teg where she was a key member of the team that designed and implemented agile working and has supported other businesses to adopt similar approaches.
Having seen the business benefits it brings, she was keen to share her knowledge and experiences in this area:
“It’s not just about being nice to your staff. It’s about being very clear about objectives and expectations”.
As well as increasing dialogue between management and employees Lorna explained how Results-Based working empowers staff to challenge the way they do things.
“Giving staff a say gives them autonomy and responsibility. This starts a buzz among teams and enables streamlining, higher morale, progression and increased focus. People appreciate the flexibility and deliver more effective and efficient outcomes.”
This was echoed by guests Alex Symonds and Andrew Rees from the Intellectual Property Office – a Chwarae Teg FairPlay Employer organisation – who shared their insights into the pilot of “Output not Hours”, IPO’s version of results-based working.
Key outcomes of the pilot included:
- Positive impact on staff wellbeing
- Reduction in sick leave
- Maintained or increased productivity
Alex and Andrew were keen to stress that the trial wasn’t implemented without hurdles and challenges – but the learnings gained enabled them to find solutions that worked for their organisation.
Setting clear short and long-term goals is vital!
They found that high levels of engagement and communication with staff and managers were required in order to provide clear guidance. Setting clear short and long-term objectives is also vital, which may be more work for managers at the beginning.
Initially, teams found short-term objectives were difficult to set. However, in time, IPO teams and managers became adept at setting realistic objectives. At the 6 month point 74% felt they were able to set realistic short-term objectives, and at the 11-month mark this increased to 92%.
For IPO the outcome was a successful way of working that maintained (or increased) output, but that it didn’t necessarily suit everyone. Offering it as an additional flexible working option was the best fit for the organisation.
Interesting stuff! The event ended with chocolate brownies (thanks S3!) and audience Q&A with guest speakers and Chwarae Teg’s Policy & Research Lead Natasha Davies. Natasha wrote the recent Best Practice Report on Results-Based working for our FairPlay Employer programme, leaving her well-placed to answer a number of questions including how the results-based working model compares to other models, such condensed working weeks which is becoming a popular concept.