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As Vodafone offers early Friday finishes, expert says bosses need to follow suit to give staff confidence

Company approaches to flexible work hours for employees need to stem from leadership to succeed, according to a human resources expert.  

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Katherine Swan told TVNZ1’ Breakfast change needs to be driven by employers. Source: Breakfast

Yesterday Vodafone announced nearly 2,000 employees will be able to start their weekends early, after the company launched half-day Fridays for the remainder of summer. 

Katherine Swan from Randstad HR told TVNZ 1's Breakfast today it's "no good" a business rolling out flexible policies if the behavior of the organisation does not support the change. 

"It's important at Vodafone that their leadership team are also modelling what this summer hours programme looks like," she said.

She says if employers introduce a new policy but do not adjust their behaviour, staff can be hesitant to step back and take advantage of new policies. 

"It doesn't create the psychological safety that employees need to say 'yup, let's go and start our weekend early.'"

Ms Swan commended the move by Vodafone, saying the telecommunications company was taking a closer look at what matters to their employees. 

"Giving them time off is signalling to the employees that we are understanding what you are looking for." 

Ms Swan says some research shows a work life balance is a priority for Kiwis when looking for work opportunities. However, she says companies need to approach flexible policies on a case by case basis, as what works for one staff member may not suit everyone. 

She says achieving a work life balance requires employers to communicate with their workforce to find out what suits them individually. 

"What works for one person won't work for every person so it is important to have an open conversation. It's important that organisations review what they are offering and make sure they align back to what their employee needs."