With return to in-person work plans being finalized after more than one year of many companies being forced into a remote modality because of COVID-19, research has shown both employees and employers have a desire to maintain flexibility in the workplace. As a result, companies are reimagining the workplace experience, or in some cases, thinking about the workplace experience for the first time. If you find yourself looking for more information about what the workplace experience means for your company, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will tackle what exactly workplace experience is, why it is crucial for your success and most importantly how you can ensure that your workplace experience is a positive one.
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Open Sourced Workplace, an online community for business owners and workplace professionals to share information, knowledge, insight and best practices, defines workplace experience this way: “Workplace Experience in simple terms is the sum total of all experiences an employee goes through in an organization. These experiences are the base of any company, leading employees to formulate beliefs that eventually culminate into actions yielding results. The term Workplace Experience is holistic in nature and a direct result of three important forces in any organization viz. leadership styles of the leaders, workplace environment, and the policies & procedures that govern the organization- BusinessWorld”
Accenture, a consulting and processing services company writes extensively on the subject of workplace experience. An article on their site reads in part, “The fact is that every business outcome—from productivity and efficiency to talent retention, innovation and growth—starts with your employees. A new approach combining technology, operations, culture and employee experience in a holistic way is now needed to fill out the overall experience picture: This we call WX, or “Workplace Experience.”A great WX is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have. According to Gartner1, “by 2020, the greatest source of competitive advantage for 30% of organizations will come from the workforce’s ability to creatively exploit digital technologies.”
Accenture’s article continues on to say, “WX is partly about the employee experience, to be sure. But it adds the critical perspective of what platforms, devices, physical spaces, user interfaces, collaboration tools and ways of working are necessary for people to perform at high levels now, and then to innovate toward future business goals and ways of working.”
Now that we’ve covered what exactly workplace experience is, it’s time to take a look at what makes WX so important.
Deloitte, a multinational professional services network, addresses this subject in a piece written by Jannine Zucker, Principal in Deloitte’s Human Capital practice where she leads the employee exchange offering. According to Zucker, “Research has shown that a positive workplace environment can reduce chronic stress and ensuing physiological consequences, such as higher levels of cortisol and increased risk of heart disease. The workplace can serve as a medium through which an organization can uniquely foster (and change) its culture. The importance of the physical workplace in elevating the workplace experience cannot be understated. How, then, can an organization maximize the workplace experience for employees? Find out in the third installment of our series on improving the employee experience.”
Avanade, a global professional services company providing IT consulting and services shares the following statistic to illustrate the positive effect that sound WX can have on a company’s performance: “Companies in the top 20% of WX scores outperformed their peers during the COVID-19 crisis – achieving a 112.29% median stock price difference.”
If you are looking for an example of a company that has achieved success because of a positive WX, Sodexo, a quality of life service company, provides data to prove the benefits of a positive workplace experience: “The tech and travel market disruptors aimed to create a memorable workplace experience, driven by their vision of ‘belonging anywhere’. The design strategy reimagined all aspects, including the care with which they recruit and train new employees, the working environment, volunteer experiences, internal communications, events and recognition. The result? 90% of employees would recommend Airbnb to a friend or colleague as a great place to work.”
Creating a Positive Workplace Experience
Writing for Service Futures, a site that looks at visions, trends and insights for the future of service, facility management, the workplace as an experience, HRM and outsourcing, Anders Hansen published an insightful article entitled, “The key elements of creating a great workplace experience.”
Hansen’s article reads in part, “To create excellent workplace experiences; one of our keys must be to successfully identify the diverse archetypes that are present in our respective offices – map their behavior and understand where we can create the single biggest emotional difference.”
Hansen continues on to write, “Empathizing with the end-users allows us, like nothing else, to understand where we can make the single biggest difference in their everyday life and thus – how we can connect with our workplace users on an emotional level… The bottom line is that it is when we connect with our end-users on an emotional level – that we move the workplace from just being a place where we perform our tasks – to a place where we come for a valuable experience.”
Hansen’s final piece of advice in the article focuses on human-centered design thinking. According to Hansen, “To understand the employee journey and detect which specific services you need to work with, Service Design as a method can be extremely useful to apply. Through its enormous focus on empathy, Service Design creates the foundation for ensuring that all parts of the employee journey are analyzed with respect to the individual personas or archetypes occupying the same workplace.”
Smartway2 is a workplace scheduling system that helps enable peak performance from employees. Using Smartway2 is easy and can help to pave the way towards a “culture of innovation.”