CGMA interview: implementing flexible working

CGMA interview: implementing flexible working

Paul Young image
Interview with Paul Young CPA, CGMA, Head of US Strategy and Corporate Development, TD Bank.

Mr Young explains why the organisation is implementing more flexible ways of working for its staff. 

Where are you seeing changes to the way work is done at TD Bank?
One major change is that we are focused on improving and aligning the workplace experience. To accomplish this, we are transitioning our corporate organisation and line of business employees to a flexible workplace environment.

Can you explain what this entails?
Our strategy is to provide an exceptional employee work experience – focused on evolving the corporate office, integrating technology tools and educating employees on work practices to create a highly collaborative, flexible and greener work place.  The flexible workspace solutions include flex offices, convertible workstations, sit/stand stations, collaborative meeting rooms and private collaborative spaces.  Employees will have flexibility to choose when they work and where they need to be, versus being relegated to a cubicle or a particular office.   

What implications does that have for managing employees?
It's more important than ever to have employees that are aligned with our organisation's strong culture and values to thrive in the changing environment, so that's something we look for when we’re hiring.

What are the key benefits of flexible working?
The easiest quantifiable benefit is the real estate, however, the key benefit and driver of the changes is improving the overall employee experience. Industry research from other similar programs reflects that the employee experience can increase up to 68% by implementing a flexible workplace. I think it increases morale and productivity because employees enjoy having the flexibility to move between office locations and build stronger relationships. 

What skills will your management accountants need in future? 
We’re trying to hire the best finance employees, not just those with the best technical skills. By the time a candidate reaches my door, there’s not much to differentiate them in terms of technical capabilities, so I’m looking for strong emotional and interpersonal intelligence, relationship and communication skills and how they will fit within the overall team. 

Does the open workforce, which will entail more disparate teams, create a need for different leadership styles?
I think those leadership styles are no different than what should already be in place if you have a strong leadership culture. You’ve got to have strong leaders with the ability to influence employees regardless of whether you have a more open workforce or not. I believe even if employees are more remote, everyone is paying attention to what the organisational leaders are doing. An open workforce perhaps puts more emphasis than before on having those strong leaders throughout the organisation but, again, that should already be in place. Winning organisations already understand the relationship between strong leadership and the positive impact on employees, customers and increasing shareholder value.