Flexibilisation: why organisations can’t ignore it any longer

Talking with Ben Jansen about Ffexibilisation

Ben Jansen, CEO of Déhora and a leading expert in the field of workforce planning, has been a keen proponent of flexibilisation for many years now. We asked him why flexibilisation was so important, and why organisations can’t afford to ignore it any longer.

What is ‘Sustainable Flexibilisation’ exactly?

”Flexibilisation is all about making it possible for an organisation to adapt relatively easily to changing circumstances. In other words, it makes your organisation agile and adaptable. There are all types of flexibilisation strategies nowadays; the art of course is to create the ideal balance between all the available resources at your disposal. And to make sure you have a strategy that is sustainable. Insiders call this ‘good flex’. In simple terms, this is when you have flexibility as an employer and as an employee. Various examples of this will be discussed during the congress.”

So why can’t organisations afford to ignore flexibilisation any longer?

”There is a well-known saying that the only constant in an organisation is change. In any case, most businesses operate in a dynamic environment, with unpredictability and increasing complexity. This is the inevitable effect of globalisation, technologisation and individualisation.”

So how can flexibilisation help?

”It’s very simple. It is clear to me that many organisations simply won’t survive if they are unable to keep up with the latest trends in the market. Just look at all the recent examples. Especially in the retail market, like Mexx and Halfords.”

Are there any pitfalls you have to look out for with flexibilisation?

”Choosing and implementing the right flexibility strategy takes knowledge and experience, especially in cases where you want to be careful because sustainability is a serious issue. It is therefore essential to choose a flexibility strategy that will actually help you to achieve the mission of your organisation. At the same time, the codetermination of the employees also has to be given proper consideration. If you don’t, then your flexibilisation strategy will be doomed to fail.”

What are the main subjects that will be discussed during conference?

“During the conference, we will be trying to find the answers to at least 6 questions:

  1. When we talk about flexibilisation, what do we really mean? What are the different types of flexibilisation?
  2. Is flexibilisation an unavoidable necessity for every organisation in the future, or for some more than others?
  3. What progress has been made with flexibilisation in the Netherlands, and what developments can we expect to see in the future?
  4. Does the flexibilisation of employment conditions always have to have disadvantages for the employees? And is it always good for employers?
  5. If you have ‘good flex’, can you also have ‘bad flex’, and can you measure ‘good flex’?
  6. Are there practical examples of good flexibilisation in the Netherlands that we can learn from?”

Why are you so passionate about this subject? Have you always been fascinated by it?

”I first got interested in flexibilisation 30 years ago. And to be honest, I still find it fascinating even today. Why? Well there are two main reasons. First of all, the multidisciplinary nature of flexibility makes it a very multifaceted subject. In other words, it is a broad subject that has an impact on just about every area of workforce organisation. Secondly, flexibilisation has become a critical issue in today’s business world. It is an issue that affects both employers and employees in very significant ways. Especially if it isn’t sustainable …”

Is that why you decided to organise this congress on flexibilisation?

”Déhora wants to be at the cutting edge of impactful, sustainable, and innovative developments. We also have a social responsibility to make sure organisations function properly. That is why we wanted to highlight the importance of flexibilisation. But the congress is just one of our initiatives in this field. The emphasis here is on knowledge sharing and exchange. Which means the people visiting the congress will definitely have fruitful and productive day. They will gain a better understanding of the need for sustainable flexibilisation and the concrete ways it can be put into practice.”

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