Case Study – The Sysdoc Group: improving performance through flexible working.
The Sysdoc Group is a management consultancy specialising in change management, business process improvement and knowledge management. The company has 150 people, working with high-profile clients including Vodafone, IBM, Reed Elsevier and Network Rail.
By adopting a ‘customer-focused’ approach, Sysdoc has tapped into a pool of highly-skilled consultants who are looking for a more ‘flexible’ employer. In this paper, we look at the measures Sysdoc has put in place to support flexible working in the firm.
Embracing Flexible Working and powering ‘Employee Advocacy’:
Creating a work culture that embraces flexibility, Sysdoc has built a committed and enthusiastic team that has delivered well-above-average business results: in 2008/09 the company grew nine times faster than the sector as a whole.
Management consultancy is generally seen as a male-dominated sector, where consultants are routinely expected to work long hours and for prolonged periods away from home. While most major firms support equal opportunities, such working regimes mitigate against employees, especially working parents, achieving a work-life balance. Sysdoc was determined to break this mould.
To compete against the bigger, established consultancies and multinational software companies, Sysdoc needed to build up a talented team of consultants who would exceed client expectations. The business aim was to impress customers during projects that clients would use the firm’s services repeatedly – and recommend Sysdoc to their peers. The company’s performance and the impact of its positive approach to work-life balance have exceeded expectations. Indeed, Sysdoc’s business results show that it is possible to achieve success while championing flexible working:
• Turnover in the period 2008/09 has increased by 42%, far in excess of the sector benchmarks of between – 1.6% and 5%.
• 95% of new business is referral-based.
• 100% of customers have provided references and would be prepared to act as referees for the company.
• Over 95% of customers have repeat-business with Sysdoc
• 96% of clients surveyed agreed that the firm had met their expectations and 78% said their expectations were exceeded.
Sysdoc’s positive approach to flexible working also had an impact on employees:
• 71% of the board are women with dependants at home
• Half of employees and associates are from groups that are under-represented in management consultancy
• 25% of employees have reduced their working hours to suit their home life
• 100% of staff with children strongly agree that “I do not feel that having a family has held back my career progression”
• Sickness absence is typically 0 to 5 days per employee per year
• Staff turnover is under 5%.
The “Sysdoc Way”.
Sysdoc has implemented a set of organisational values that lie at the heart of the company. Known as the ‘Sysdoc Way’, these include a “commitment to the growth of our people and support of their families”, reflecting Sysdoc’s belief that ‘to deliver client excellence, you have to be in balance with yourself’.
A range of measures have been put in place to support this work-life balance.
Task: Individual coursework (2000 words)
The case study above outlines an example of one company’s approach to flexible working. Using the case study and your own research into the topic area, you are asked ro prepare an individual report on the following:
a) Define flexible working within the legislative framework within the EU (300 words)
b) Critically discuss the implications, both legally and with regards to good practice, when recruiting staff to work flexibly. You should use examples to support your answer (500 words)
a) Critically evaluate the impact of the flexible working hours upon the organization (Sysdoc Group) and its employees’ performance. You should use examples to support your answer. (800 words) 40 marks
b) Draw conclusions and make any relevant recommendations that may be of benefit to Sysdoc Group and to employers considering implementing similar flexible working practices. (200 words) 10 marks