Flexible Working as Retention

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Journal of Management Research Vol. 14, No. 2, April–June 2014, pp. 71–86 Flexible Working as an Employee Retention Strategy in Developing Countries Malaysian Bank Managers Speak Aida Idris Abstract Retaining talented employees is a predicament often faced in fast developing countries due to the highlycompetitive nature of their business environment. Since increasing financial benefits is considered as an unsustainable strategy in employee retention, firms have begun to consider flexible working as an alternative tool. The current study is concerned with the situation in the Malaysian banking industry. Using a qualitative approach, the potential effects of five types of flexible working practices – namely flex time, job sharing, flex leave, flex career and flex place – on employee retention were explored. Data gathered from personal interviews with local bank managers help in explaining how contextual factors such as the macro-environment, organisational culture, and human resource management systems can influence the effectiveness of each type of flexible working practice in employee retention. Findings of the study have contributed to a more refined framework of flexible working and employee retention particularly for developing countries and underline the importance of further research comparing societies and organisations of different backgrounds. The study has also raised the need to re-examine organisational culture and human resource management systems in the Malaysian work environment. Keywords: Banking Industry, Developing Countries, Employee Retention, Flexible Working, Qualitative Analysis INTRODUCTION Recent trends in demographic, cultural, economic and legal environments have had an impact on many aspects of human resource management including employee recruitment and retention strategies (Golden, 2008; Vaiman, Scullion and

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