I’m a Chief People Officer — Companies That Want to Hire Superstars Need to Stop Saying This 1 Word

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April 18, 2024 at 7:15AM UTC


According to Colleen McCreary, the Chief People, Places, and Publicity officer at Credit Karma, companies need to stop using the word “hybrid” and instead opt for something a little more appealing and equitable: “flexibility.”

“The ‘flexible’ word is the word that most of us have embraced or want to embrace as much as possible,” McCreary said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit conference in Washington, D.C. Instead of figuring out a hybrid structure, companies should “[let] smaller groups sort of define for themselves how they operate, how they get their work done.”

While many employees have embraced the idea of a hybrid workforce, this kind of structure has rigidity. Employees need to be in the office on certain days, and their employer often sets the structure for what days these are.

McCreary isn’t arguing for a free-for-all, come into the office and stay home whenever you want situation. Instead, she’s arguing for flexibility, and agency for teams to decide what structure works best for them.

If you’re looking for more flexibility at work, here’s how to ask for it.

1. Do your research.

Unfortunately, not all jobs, industries and companies are built for all kinds of flexibility. Some jobs will really need you to work certain hours or work in certain locations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find flexibility within and outside these requirements. 

If you want more flexibility, start by doing research about your company, industry and other people who hold similar positions to you. How have they incorporated flexibility into their workforce? Providing specific examples of already working models can help show your manager, team or even a hiring manager the already successful possibilities. 

2. Be specific.

There’s a difference between asking for more flexibility and asking for an hour or two off on Wednesday each week. The latter is much more specific and gives the person you’re asking a concrete idea of what you mean by flexibility. Understand what flexibility means to you, and what flexibility at work looks like in your ideal world. Is it remote work 100% of the time? Is it time off every Wednesday afternoon, then making up those hours Thursday evening? Whatever it is, be clear and precise on what you’re actually asking for.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for asking for flexibility at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article does not reflect the views of Fairygodboss.

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