Improving Employee Experience with Workplace Effectiveness

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Expectations of Employee Experience are Rising.

With unemployment at a half-century low, the competition for talent is at an all-time high.

Millennials have become the largest contingent of U.S. workforce, and the demographic shift in the workforce toward younger talent is driving organizations to compete on experience and purpose. So, competing for talent requires a more thorough, qualitative approach to improving employee experience. No problem, right?

An expected end to the economic boom is making organizations wary of large investments and long-term commitments. Simultaneously, increased urbanization has driven commercial real estate up. Now, organizations vying for talent must spend more in uncertain times to improve employee experience. Everyone’s good with that, yeah?

“To optimize performance,

we must address effectiveness and experience in tandem. Currently, less than half of the American workforce is in a workplace that achieves both.”

Gensler 2019 U.S. Workplace Survey

How To Meet Higher Expectations for Experience.

Positive employee experiences improve employee engagement, which contributes to incrementally greater business performance. In order to deliver effective work environments, organizations have to consider their end-users’ interaction and behavior through a cultural lens. So, what do the people want?

People Want Community.

Team-building is the highest-ranked aspect of a great workplace, followed closely by wellbeing and development. Work modes of collaborating in person, virtually, learning and socializing have all increased in percentage of time spent while working alone has decreased.

While team-building is seen as the most valuable attribute of a workplace, amenities with a non-work focus presented the least incremental benefit. So, we believe that investing in how people work together is the most effective way to improve employee experience in regard to community.

employee experience | workplace effectiveness

People Want Choice & Autonomy.

Everywhere is an office for top performers, but not every office facilitates top performance. The desire for privacy is increasing, which we believe is a response to open offices full of friction.

18% of the workforce reports working in a totally open or private office, and less than a quarter desire such polar settings. That means over 75% of the workforce works in an environment that has room to improve on both effectiveness and employee experience.

So, we think investing in feedback about how people want to work is the best place to start improving employee experience regarding choice.

79% of people with a variety of work settings reported a positive work experience, compared to only ⅓ of respondents with little variety.

Gensler 2019 U.S. Workplace Survey

Finding the Balance for an Effective Workplace.

Effective workplaces that deliver positive experiences cultivate a balance that caters to their workforce. Finding an experiential balance in the workplace requires aligning all the factors that contribute to the ecosystem.

Balancing Openness

  • Move toward middle ground: 55% of the workforce wants work environments that are at least somewhat open, and mostly open offices have the highest scores for both experience and effectiveness.
  • Consider end-users’ cultural perspective. For instance, women tend to lean toward greater privacy, while younger generations desire greater openness.

“Today’s workplace is an ecosystem, and the best workplace experiences are built on variety, choice, and autonomy.” 

Gensler 2019 U.S. Workplace Survey

Balancing Amenities & Alternatives

  • Commit to team-building and collaboration without getting too frivolous with the perks.
  • Gather feedback about which non-focus behaviors are most valuable to your workforce: social, development, health or otherwise.
  • Determine which alternative spaces will make the best use of your real estate while providing the most support to end-users’ workflow.

“Great workplaces create more engaged employees; and more engaged employees are the key to business productivity and profit.”

Gensler 2019 U.S. Workplace Survey

The Bottom Line: Effective Workplaces Deliver A Positive Employee Experience.

Employee engagement is affected by both effectiveness of and experience in the workplace: their commitment to and satisfaction from their work, the purpose & meaning they find in their position and the likelihood they would recommend it to a colleague.

We may not have an opportunity to affect your employees’ experience directly, but we’re most certainly in the business of effective workspaces. Whether your transition’s on the horizon or just on the brain, we’re here to make your workspace work as hard as you do.