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A previous version of this newsletter was sent in error. This is the corrected newsletter for Sunday, October 24, 2021.

This is the weekly Careers newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Globe Careers and all Globe newsletters here.

Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

As employers and employees consider their return to work plans, many companies are thinking about how new work policies could help them attract and retain talent, especially in competitive sectors like technology.

Avanade, a joint-venture of Microsoft and Accenture, recently tested an initiative called “Alternative Work Week” (AWW) globally, and Canadian offices are now participating in the pilot. At its core, AWW is simple: employees can create their own flexible work schedule and redistribute the classic 40 hour/five-day workweek to suit their individual needs and commitments.

“COVID really created business transformation globally. Because of that, elevating our employee experience was more important than ever,” says Andrea Richardson, director of business HR for Canada at Avanade.

Employees can choose to work any combination of a 40-hour workweek that they choose, such as four days a week for 10 hours a day or nine hours a day with half-days every Monday.

Theoretically, this could pose a challenge for a company like Avanade that has a large number of billable employees, where an employee’s time is charged to clients.

Chris Fernando, a CRM Solution Developer, is one of the billable employees who is taking part in the pilot.

“First, it’s really nice to have Fridays off to be able to do things like go grocery shopping,” Mr. Fernando says.

“From a professional side, it’s also really nice to have some extra time earlier in the day. I work with a lot of teams in different time zones. So for me, it’s really nice to have that extra time that I can work with Europe or Asia as opposed to trying to cram everything into a nine-to-five day.”

Fernando also says clients were understanding of the new work week – and many of his co-workers were interested in taking part in the pilot once they saw his updated e-mail signature explaining his new schedule.

But the smooth rollout didn’t come without a lot of planning.

“We did a lot of communication with our leaders to start, because if our leaders aren’t bought into it, then, our clients aren’t going to buy in either,” Ms. Richardson says.

While it’s too soon to account for the full results of the current pilot (which runs until January, 2022), the company has already collected data on how AWW is affecting the company, employees and their clients across the globe from previous pilots.

In terms of the bottom line, those previous results showed that there was no impact on the chargeability of the pilot group; it remained aligned with the control group. (The control group consisted of those who did not participate in the pilot.)

Those same results also showed a 6 per cent increase in efficiency, and a 4 per cent increase in productivity. They also saw a 3 per cent increase in employee Net Promoter Score, meaning that employees were more willing to recommend their workplace to friends and acquaintances. Overall, there was a positive response from clients and there was no negative impact on collaborative behaviours or team output.

What I’m reading around the web

You were just offered the job – congrats! Read this Harvard Business Review article to get insights from experts on how to evaluate, accept, reject or negotiate your new offer. Plus, read the case studies at the end to see the tactics in practice.

Reasons to be Cheerful shares how worker co-operatives, where workers both own and run the business, are becoming more popular and giving employees back some of their power during a time of economic and employment uncertainty.

As Marcel Schwantes says in this Inc. article, “People are promoted into leadership roles every day who have no business being there.” But the right people are out there! He shares how to spot high-quality leaders and the five things they do right to be successful in the role.

Having tough discussions at work, like firing someone or giving them negative feedback, is hard. And it can be even harder when you’re both staring at each other over Zoom. The Financial Post interviewed executive coach, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, about these conversations and how to tackle them.


More from Globe Careers

My employer wants to control when I clock in for my shift. Is that legal? A reader who works as a server at a restaurant says her workplace has a policy where they can’t clock in until they seat our first table. On slow days this means sitting around and waiting for over an hour.

How to attract leaders to your organization – and keep them there Our rejuvenated labour market is rich with competition, and skilled candidates are in high demand. This has left, according to a recent KPMG survey, almost 70 per cent of small and mid-sized businesses struggling to find and retain staff who have the skills they need to grow the company. Here are some tips for attracting and retaining talent.

Leadership Lab is a series where executives, experts and writers share their views and advice about the world of work. You can find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab and guidelines for how to contribute to the column here.

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