Family Friendly Employment Case Study: AMX AUS/NZ

amx-family-friendly-employmentIntroduction

This case study focuses on AMX AUS/NZ, an industry leading technology company providing audiovisual control system solutions, IPTV (Internet TV) and digital signage applications and high-end audio visual matrix switching solutions.  As with all businesses, staff engagement, retention, productivity, recruitment and attraction are constant challenges for this Gold Coast based SME.  AMX AUS/NZ has chosen to address these issues by providing world class  flexible working arrangements and they are delighted with the results.

What Graham Evans, General Manager says…

Q. What kind of flexible arrangements do you offer?  We have a few varying scenarios.  

My EA works school hours and generally not in the school holidays.  If she has an important event with her children or family, we provide the flexibility to accommodate.  Technology permits her to meet deadlines whilst away from the office.  Phil Dunn, who liaises with our tertiary customers, manages semi-retirement within his busy and highly valued role with AMX.  Employing an industry veteran, who we secured from a retired status, Phil has brought significant credibility and experience to our university interactions.  Equally, Phil has been able to remain challenged, but still enjoy the benefits of semi-retirement.  Kate Suttie is our part-time accounts assistant and receptionist.  Kate is currently completing part time studies for her Accounting Diploma.  Kate’s 3 day per week employment at AMX Australia provides a balanced approach to her studies and assists us with our overall accounts and reception requirements.  In recent peak demand, she has been able to provide some additional hours to assist us.  One of the Management Team has been completing a two-year EMBA, which requires a 3-day weekend once a month for 2 years.  We see the merit in affording this time off in the betterment these skills will ultimately bring to our business and provide that time off.

Q. What do you see as the primary benefits of offering these to employees?  

They enjoy balance and manage their own calendar, deadlines and responsibilities.  They get to be there for their kids throughout their vital childhood years or balance their career with their passion for sport, music or pursuit of their next academic degree.

Q. What do you see as benefits to the organisation?  

We are able to retain vital members of the team as demands on their personal circumstances shift through parenting responsibilities, continued education, professional development and external obligations.

Q. Do you formally measure any aspect of the arrangement(s) to confirm that is in fact providing you with value as an employer?  

When we initially entered into the above-mentioned models, we had a specific component in the relevant 6-monthly reviews which captured the benefits and/or challenges experienced by either party during that period.  I am pleased to report it was all good news!

Q. Do you think your approach to flexibility assists in attracting, securing and retaining talent?  

Absolutely! I can say that in at least one instance, not offering flexibility would mean I wouldn’t have my EA.

What Cindy Harrington, Executive Assistant says…

Q. Describe your current working arrangements?  

I am a permanent part-time employee working a nine day fortnight.  I monitor my own workload to ensure that all deadlines are met.  Technology enables me to work from home if necessary.  I am also granted extended leave periods over the school holidays to spend time with my children.

Q. Has the role always offered this level of flexibility?  

Yes it has, the role was a newly created position within AMX. Graham (General Manager) and I enjoyed a successful flexible working arrangement for a previous employer and when Graham (General Manager) approached me to join the team at AMX, we negotiated an arrangement that would be mutually beneficial.

Q. Since you’ve been working under these arrangements, what mechanisms have been put in place to measure your productivity?  

Each employee at AMX Australia has a bi-annual performance review conducted by their manager.  This provides a formal mechanism to discuss any aspects of the employee’s performance that is required.

Q. How does your productivity compare with others in your organisation?  

As effective, if not slightly better.  Being a part-time employee, I have fewer hours to complete my workload so I have to manage my time well to ensure all tasks are completed in a timely manner.

Q. What does being afforded this flexibility mean to you and your family?  

Work life balance means everything!  As a mother it is very important for me to be there for my family.  I have been there for schooling milestones, take regular family holidays and achieve my own personal goals, whilst still being a valued member of the workforce.

Q. How do you feel about your employer and their support of flexible working arrangements?  

AMX Australia is a wonderful employer and is very supportive of staff members who require flexibility.  A number of employees have negotiated flexible working arrangements and because of that, we have a very productive, positive and motivated team.

Q. How do you feel about flexibility in the workplace in general?  

I feel it is win-win situation for all concerned.  There are so many people out there with great skills to offer an employer but for many reasons may not be able to commit to full time employment.  By offering flexibility in the workplace, employers can still tap into these skills and retain valuable, happy and motivated staff.

Conclusion

Clearly these responses are evidence the flexible working arrangements being utilised by AMX AUS/NZ are working well.  Offering flexible or family friendly work arrangements is a leap of faith for some businesses, particularly smaller ones, and so it’s always great to see data from SMEs proving these arrangements are as good for a big business as they are for small.

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Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.
Leigh Grigaliunas

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