Case Study - All Roles Flex

Why are we working “All Roles Flex”?

Telstra helps people to connect no matter where they are or what they’re doing. We help other organisations introduce technology to enable their employees to work more flexibly but until recently, had not truly embraced that opportunity ourselves. 

Our purpose with “All Roles Flex” was to adopt a new and disruptive position around mainstreaming flexibility that would amplify productivity benefits, lift engagement, establish a clear market proposition and also enable a new way of working, with technology linked very strongly to this.

Pilot and Evolution

To test our ideas first, we piloted the “All Roles Flex” approach in our customer sales and service business unit, which contains roles in account management, contact centre and retail environments among others. This involved both a recruitment and manager education focus. 

The results of our 3-month pilot were compelling; female representation among applicants had increased, 30% of surveyed candidates reported that they applied for the role because of our openness about flexibility, and a similar number reported that they had entered into a flexible way of working in their new role

In September 2013, it was announced that we would adopt “All Roles Flex” in all business units at Telstra by the end of March 2014. This was an audacious goal, managed and implemented locally through Diversity Councils in each business unit of Telstra, who decided on the right timing in each case and who led manager education locally. Indeed, these Councils will continue the local focus as we move beyond the March 2014 deadline to ensure a rich and extensive subscription to and application of practices consistent with “All Roles Flex”.

What “All Roles Flex” is today

All Roles Flex at Telstra means that flexibility in some form is something we’re open to discussing for all our jobs. We’ve adopted a very broad definition of “flexibility” in this regard, recognising that the practice will mean different things for different people and different work types.

Flexibility can include part-time work, different working hours, or working from different locations, instead of the traditional ‘36.75 hour week’, and is practised in different ways across our many types of roles within both scheduled and non-scheduled environments. Flexibility in a scheduled work environment (such as a Telstra store) could mean the ability to express a preference to work certain scheduled shifts. Flexibility in a non-scheduled work environment could mean different working hours (i.e. later starts or earlier finishes depending on your situation); working at other locations (i.e. from home or another Telstra office if it’s more convenient); being open to hiring candidates in different locations; and reduced hours (i.e. part-time).

From a practical perspective, there are two main elements to All Roles Flex – recruitment of new employees, and access to flexibility for existing employees.

Telstra does not accept unlawful discriminatory behaviour or anyone unreasonably refusing requests for flexible work. This is why a consistent and long term view is required to affect change, with ongoing focus on leader education, a spotlight on successful flexible working, and visible modelling of flexibility at all levels of the organisation, and in a variety of circumstances.  This is the focus of our work from this point.