80% Business Leaders In India Feel Pressured To Offer Greater Flexibility Today: Study

80% Business Leaders In India Feel Pressured To Offer Greater Flexibility Today: Study

About 80% of business leaders in India feel pressured to offer greater work mode flexibility since COVID-19, according to LinkedIn.


The professional network has launched the ‘Future of Work’ B2B perception study by research firm GFK that zooms in on the insights of 736 business leaders in India and their insights on the future of work, what they offer in terms of work mode flexibility, the challenges they foresee, and their solutions to these emergent problems . 


Topline findings indicate that, while 80% of business leaders in India feel pressured to offer greater work mode flexibility since COVID-19, with employees (58%), managers (41%), and the government (37%), the top three contributors of this pressure, leaders are confident of the benefits that happier employees, and hiring from a more diverse talent pool will bring.


“Flexible working has emerged as a top priority in the new world of work, and business leaders see this as an opportunity to hire more diverse talent and improve business performance. Nearly 9 in 10 leaders in India have hired specialists to design stronger work-place policies, to re-evaluate everything from L&D opportunities to performance reviews and career progression through a new lens — one that puts people first and not location. To support this shift in the way we work, LinkedIn is launching new platform tools to help job-seekers find opportunities that match their preferences and their need for a more flexible work environment,” says Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn.

Amid today’s burgeoning demand for flexibility, business leaders are actively creating new workplace policies thereby providing employees with more control over how they work and where they work from now onwards. The study reflects that 88% have also hired specialists, consultants, and additional personnel to help revamp their   workplace policies to accommodate the unprecedented future of work.


In order to make way for the new hybrid work culture, 9 in 10 business leaders in India have already offered or are planning to increase flexibility and offer job sharing possibilities, while 78% have already offered or are planning to allow employees to work from a different country and time zone thereby allowing them to recruit some of the best experts from across the globe. The study also shows that India is leading in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region when it comes to offering flexibility; in comparison, only 68% of APAC leaders offer job shares and 58% allow the staff to work from a different country. 


Deploying  transformative workplace policies is a mammoth task; one that requires much consideration , and business leaders in India  foresee concerns with offering greater flexibility such as substandard quality work (39%), lesser collaboration between employees (37%), an increase in unhappy clients and a dented customer experience (36%). Despite challenges, 83% of India’s business leaders are confident about leading a distributed workforce, when compared to 66% of leaders in the APAC region.


The ongoing remote reality has simplified the process for companies to hire professionals with more distinct backgrounds and diversified skill sets today. The survey indicates that 9 in 10 business leaders believe flexible work policies can help them hire not just diverse, but also the best talent. More than 50% business leaders in India also believe virtual interviews  allow them to connect with aspirants with proximity restrictions (55%), find a more diverse mix of candidates (45%), and professionals with modern skills (49%) today.


The study also highlights the fact that ‘digital transformation’, ‘rethinking marketing strategy’, and ‘establishing new ways of working’ are the top three business priorities for business leaders given the collapse of the traditional work system over the last year and a half. These priorities come at a time when leaders choose social media (69%) and other online advertising (57%) over ATL and print media (42%) in today’s remote reality. Further, 93% of India’s leaders also believe that having younger employees on the team gives them fresh insights into new marketing trends and keep pace with the fast changing emergent technologies, especially as they continue to adapt their marketing strategies using various online tools.


The study showcases  3 in 5 leaders believe having ‘happy and fulfilled employees’ (62%) is just as important as ‘excellent customer service’ (63%) to drive strong  business results today. Therefore, providing assistance to employees as they adapt to new and often innovative yet unfamiliar ways of working’ and ‘keeping them happy and engaged’ are cited as the key workforce priorities for leaders in the next six months.

To ensure  employees are productively engaged and prepared for the future of work, 9 in 10 (89%) business leaders are investing in training courses that facilitate employee collaboration and productivity in a flexible working environment. In fact, 1 in every 2 leaders  are reliant on increased L&D investments to help employees upgrade their skills (52%), move easily into internal roles (52%), and learn together in a community-based environment (52%).

Business leaders also believe that a sharper focus on empathy can boost collaboration among distributed workforces. The study shows that 1 in 2 (50%) leaders in India are of the opinion  that encouraging small talk at the start of meetings, and empathetic conversations led by managers (46%) can foster inclusion among employees and create a comfortable and happy work environment, regardless of their locations.


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