EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Flexibility policies at the company level: a common interest?

This Company Network Seminar will be held in the headquarters of Dexia Group in Brussels on 1-2 October 2008.

This Company Network Seminar will set out to explore the role of internal flexibility policies at the company level and how these can contribute to enhancing business and worker adaptability in a constantly changing work environment. In this context, flexible work practices have an increasingly important function in meeting the interests and demands of employees’ for greater work-life balance and skills development, whilst also enabling companies to remain competitive and productive.

The European Foundation wishes to thank Dexia Group for its kind cooperation and support in hosting this event.

What is the context?

The term flexibility implies an ability to react and adapt to changes. In current EU policy discourse (Lisbon Agenda 2005 review), flexibility is increasingly regarded as a desirable and essential element in achieving a higher degree of adaptability for workers and enterprises. This becomes particularly important in an ever changing economic landscape, characterised by frequent business restructuring and the reallocation of human resources from one job and/or sector to another. Equally relevant to this debate is the growing demand from workers for enhanced workplace flexibility policies to facilitate adaptation to constantly changing life and professional cycles.

What is the format?

Taking place over two days, the seminar will set out to analyse business policies in the field of Human Resources aimed at achieving greater levels of internal flexibility (see below). The opening session will present key research results and provide expert input, so as to set the scene and introduce the main concepts and notions to be explored through the company practices.

Five company representatives from different European firms will present their corporate initiatives in relation to internal flexibility with a view to understanding the contribution of these practices to business performance and employee development. Finally, participants will work in groups to identify key policy pointers and management tips regarding the development of flexibility arrangements at the workplace.

Seminar focus

This seminar will explore solely the two internal dimensions of flexibility:

  • Working time flexibility: quantitative in nature, it is used as a way of adjusting working hours or schedules of workers employed within the organisation, as well as business operating times. This type of flexibility measures will provide evidence of companies’ use of flexible working time options and how these can meet the needs of both workers and employers.
  • Organisational flexibility: mostly covers qualitative job aspects dealing with forms of work organisation that are primarily set up to make work methods and processes within the company more flexible, whilst also enhancing employability prospects for workers. Practices falling under this category will illustrate how workers skills are developed in ways that benefits both them and the company, through innovative work organisation arrangements.

The company practices

The focus of the company presentations and subsequent debates will address the following issues:

  • The corporate strategy and motivation for developing flexible work practices
  • Development, design and implementation
  • The role of company level actors - negotiations & agreements
  • Specific arrangements (working time & organisational flexibility)
  • Benefits and drawbacks of practices and initiatives
  • Evaluation and review
  • Impact on company performance and employee satisfaction levels
  • Is it a win-win situation?


For further details on the format and topics of this seminar, please download the final programme.

What to do if you are interested

If you are interested in participating in this seminar, please contact Sylvaine Recorbet at srf@eurofound.europa.eu or express your interest online by downloading the form and sending a completed copy to Sylvaine Recorbet by fax (+353 1 282 25 33).

Please note that the deadline for registering is 31 July 2008. Eurofound will reimburse travel costs and pay a daily subsistence allowance for a limited number of participants. Places are fixed at 50 and registrations will be screened upon receipt, with the applicant receiving notification of his/her acceptance shortly afterwards.

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