manager helping her team
Workplace strategy
5 min read

The role of a workplace experience manager: defined

What’s changed in your workplace over the last 18 months? It’s a big question to ask — with many, varied answers. A workplace experience manager specializes in managing workplace change and ensuring that the workplace continues to fulfill the needs of the organization and the staff as a whole.

The role can be a challenging one. But it’s essential for modern businesses, especially when responding to macro trends and crises as we have in the last year.

If you’re figuring out the best way to return to the office or implement hybrid, flexible working, check out our recent webinars.

To optimize your workplace experience, make rooms, desks and other resources bookable in advance. That way you can leverage utilization data to create your ideal employee experience. To see how it works book a demo.

What is a workplace experience manager and what do they do?

A workplace experience manager is primarily responsible for making sure that time spent in the office is the best experience it can be. This is both in terms of the value for the company and the experience of the employee.

It falls to the workplace experience manager to oversee all aspects of the working environment. This can range from the physical layout of the office space to the technologies that enable collaboration and even facilitating the interpersonal relationships that drive creativity.

The most important skill for a workplace experience manager is the ability to look at such a disparate range of variables and integrate them into a coherent and cohesive workplace experience. This means paying attention to even the smallest details of the workplace experience and understanding the ripple effects that might cause.

The best workplace experience managers are also highly aware of the needs of different employees. This might mean that different teams need to work in subtly different ways, but can also extend to understanding issues of diversity, inclusion and equity — ensuring that policies and procedures are empowering for everyone. A workplace experience manager needs to be able to put themselves into everyone else’s shoes, showing both empathy and imagination.

One of the key deliverables for a workplace experience manager is employee engagement and loyalty. High-quality talent is an essential resource, and employers need to balance getting the most out of our talent, attracting new talent, and avoiding burnout and high turnover. 

To learn more about how to create an effective workplace strategy, check out this blog post.

Does the workplace experience need managing?

Workplace experience management is a relative newcomer to the senior management team — and some may even argue it’s not entirely needed. 

How do you know whether your workplace experience needs managing and what are the benefits of investing in this area?

Engagement and productivity

Higher employee engagement leads to higher productivity and a closer focus on the customer experience. These are all absolutely essential for a business to succeed. Evidence suggests that each disengaged employee costs businesses around 34% of their annual salary in lost revenue, and, globally, 59% of employees are actively or passively disengaged.

Having a single member of the management team dedicated to understanding and addressing issues with engagement can have a dramatic impact on productivity, as well as on employee well-being.

Navigating hybrid working

If hybrid working is set to become the new normal, we need to learn how to get it right — and soon! Hybrid working can present challenges that fully remote teams don’t face. For example, how can you ensure that remote staff still have the same opportunities as office-based staff? How can we evaluate team members fairly? How can you build a sense of solidarity and identity?

A workplace experience manager is best placed to think about these questions and many more. Ensuring that hybrid working is frictionless also means considering IT hardware and software solutions, HR concerns, and space management, for example with room bookings. These details are key to a workplace experience manager, but can easily fall between the cracks if left to individual departments.

Optimizing, not managing

Some companies are resistant to the addition of a workplace experience manager — they’ve got by so far without one, so why the sudden need to further expense? And while it’s true that a workplace experience manager isn’t essential, they can still inspire the difference between optimizing (and therefore excelling) and merely getting by.

By taking the whole of the workplace experience into account, a workplace experience manager is able to look at how information flows throughout an organization. Being outside of individual departments, they can adopt a bird’s-eye view of systems and processes. This can often help to identify blockages, wastage, and inefficiencies — boosting productivity (and profitability) as a result.

Attracting (and keeping) talent

Replacing a mid-level employee can cost 20% of their annual salary, with losses rising to over double their salary for key senior figures. This includes recruitment costs, lost skills, knowledge and relationships, and lost productivity during handovers, alongside other costs. 

Making a poor hire carries similar costs, as staff members need to be replaced.

Increasingly, top talent expects to have an enjoyable and challenging working environment, and many rate this as more important than salary when choosing a new job — this is true for Millennials in particular. A workplace experience manager is directly focused on ensuring that you provide the kind of environment that attracts and retains top talent, and keeps their well-being in check too.

A workplace experience manager’s toolkit

As we’ve seen so far in this guide, the workplace experience manager has to juggle a mind-boggling selection of different challenges. For them to do their job — and do it well — business owners and C-Suite execs should provide them with:

Access to all teams

Workplace experience managers must understand the needs and preferences of all the different teams and groups within their organization. 

Spending time working with each of these groups is key to ensuring that their solutions are both realistic and welcomed. Better still, this allows team members to feel understood and to see how any upcoming changes have been designed with their needs in mind.


Workplace experience managers need clear routes for communication with the whole workforce. Being able to explain the purpose behind their initiatives — and having simple, clear channels for team-wide feedback and questions — are essential for workplace experience success.

Technological solutions

A great workplace experience manager wants to streamline processes, eliminate unnecessary friction and automate where appropriate. They also want their suggestions and decisions to be driven by accurate data. This can be achieved by finding the right tech solutions to specific workplace issues. 

Smartway2 offers adaptable and innovative solutions for workplace experience managers, enabling your team to book everything they need for a productive day’s work, in advance. 

By creating an ‘on-demand’, adaptive workplace in this way, you can gather valuable space and resource utilization data in order to customize and improve your employee experience.

Jane Young

Jane Young

Last updated August 24, 2021
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