Formalizing Flexibility Creates Measurable Success at State Street
by Open Work
For State Street, a global company at the heart of the financial services industry, flexible work policies have been a way of life for years.
Despite those long-term policies, Boston-based State Street really started to see the business benefits of workplace flexibility when it made a strategic shift from granting flexibility on an as-needed basis to implementing an organized, manager-initiated approach.
Maia Germain, Senior Vice President at State Street says that prior to 2009, the company had a flexible work policy in place but it was around this time that “leadership saw that managers were struggling with how to implement it and employees were voicing concern with inconsistencies across teams. Some were using flexibility very effectively, and others weren’t. Managers were getting the message that it was important, but they didn’t really know how to execute it effectively.”
State Street resolved to take a more strategic approach to flexibility. With close oversight from executives, the company set up a dedicated staff for a new Flex Work Program. The team designed and implemented the expanded program in partnership with various business teams and support functions across the company. As a result of the group’s efforts, the company has transitioned from a disparate collection of employee-initiated arrangements into a proactive, manager-initiated program supported by tools, technologies and resources. There are five formal types of flexibility offered: flex time, compressed schedule, reduced hours, flex place (remote work), and job share. Managers assess the feasibility of flexible work arrangements based on business needs and determine with their employees the most appropriate type of flexible work arrangement. The result is that almost 70% of the company’s global workforce now has some type of flexibility in their schedule.
The turnover rate of employees on formal Flexible Work arrangements is 47 percent less than compared to State Street overall, and the company has seen increased productivity across the board. “This strategy is a key component of how we maximize employee attraction, engagement and retention; improve productivity; and support the company’s business continuity efforts,” says Germain. “It’s definitely part of life @ State Street now.”