3 reasons why a Head of People is a perfect flexible worker - Juggle Jobs

3 reasons why a Head of People is a perfect flexible worker

Helping businesses hire flexible senior talent/people professionals is one of Juggles busiest and most successful areas: the companies we work with find it’s an area that lends itself to experienced, self managing individuals who have autonomy over their time.

What does a Head of People/Talent do?

It varies from company to company but these are the core areas of responsibility we see:

  • Develop a people strategy inline with the company’s business goals
  • Alongside the CEO and key stakeholders, define, socialise and protect the company culture
  • Be the guardian for the business to identify and hire great people
  • Coach and mentor business leaders to develop a high-performance environment.
  • Develop handbooks and processes to streamline and improve any HR issues that may arise

These key responsibilities we most often see with a Head of People all require a significant amount of high-value facetime. Their skills lie in influencing others and building relationships; that’s where they get and impart the most energy and consequently their default working environment will be office-based, around others. As a side note, amidst the forced remoteness that the Covid-19 crisis has brought to many businesses, it will be intriguing to observe how the non-flex HOP’s rise to the challenges of stoking the company culture fire and guarding the people strategy away from the office.

Constant face-to-face engagement and a non-stop open-door approach can actually hinder some of the more strategic and reflective aspects of the role. Lots of businesses see this as counter-intuitive: their understanding is that the more time people spend in an office environment, the more work will get done. But this reasoning only works if the office is the most productive environment for every part of your schedule. Here are 3 reasons why a Head of People with a flexible schedule might be the best thing for your business.


1. Freed solitude can improve their performance

In order to be truly successful, a Head of People needs individual space. This time allows for strategic planning and reflection on big issues such as culture and overall performance. It can also be the only realistic time to tackle any necessary administration.

“Forcing myself to work from home gives me the space to ask myself ‘are we on the right track’ for ongoing initiatives. If the answer is ‘no’ I can address it then and there, and if ‘yes’ I know I need to formalise that behaviour/action/initiative to ensure we build a high performance culture, at speed!”

Darren Hirst – Head of People, Tide.co


2. They excel at communication

Professionals most successful at “flex” are those that a) know to ask for what they need, and b) are cognisant of reciprocity for a successful working relationship. In effect, they are self-managing.

Heads of People are particularly good at this when it comes to negotiating and communicating their flexible working needs. They view flex as a need but not a right. They feel gratitude to their employer for the flexibility, but never apologise for needing it.

It is perhaps this candid and nuanced level of communication around flexible working which has ensured Heads of People can flourish as flexible workers more than any other reason.

“Being stimulated but also rested at work are not mutually exclusive concepts. I am undoubtedly a better and more productive employee as a result of flexibility and delighted to have found employers that understand this. Isn’t it just common sense?” 

Tamsin Webster – startup portfolio Chief People Officer (Thought Machine, PureScooters, NFamily Club)


3. Their schedule is well-suited for flex

One of the reasons that Head of People roles seem to see such immediate benefits from a more flexibly structured working environment is that they have… a schedule that is well-suited for flexibility

A Head of People schedule tends to fall into 3 distinct categories:

  • Predictable appointments (interviews, culture workshops, formal coaching sessions) – 50-60%
  • Unpredictable conversations (informal coaching, disgruntled employee meetings, relationship building with the leadership team) – 30-40%
  • Independent work (reflection on culture and performance, strategic planning, necessary administration) – 10-20%

Heads of People in flexible roles have the luxury of controlling their predictable appointments to suit their schedule, knowing that they in turn need to be flexible with the unpredictable conversations. The natural give and take of this relationship means that both the Head of People and the business they work with feel well-catered for and in control of the situation.

Let individuals thrive with flexibility 

By becoming better at identifying characteristics of self-awareness and adaptability in employees, businesses can simply provide a trusting flexible environment that unlock performances. This sounds like common sense, but we’re discovering that this doesn’t happen “automatically” – it often takes formalising a flexible arrangement to start the process.

Some tell-tale signs of a self-starter candidate that will take ownership of flexibility and use it to maximise both your business output and their own satisfaction:

  • They are very results-focused and press you for expected outcomes for their role and the business as a whole.
  • Rather than coming to you with problems, they tend to present a well-thought-out plan of action in a collaborative way.
  • They are less sensitive to and involved with internal politics because it interferes with productivity.

Get started with your flex culture now

If you are ready to make your next hire a flexible one – be this full-time with a flexible location, or part-time at 2 – 3 days per week – let Juggle help.

Our experienced flexible hiring team can help you identify top-quality professionals with flexible working experience as well as help you identify how to improve your culture to better support flexible working. Email us now.

Our experienced flexible hiring team can help you identify top-quality professionals with flexible working experience as well as help you identify how to improve your culture to better support flexible working.

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