What goes into creating a great workplace? That answer, if you ask a company with its eye toward the future, is about more than giving employees an environment in which to operate. It’s about providing a well-rounded employee experience, which starts with employers making employee engagement and satisfaction top priorities for creating the optimal workspace.
Satisfied employees produce satisfied customers, says recent research by Gallup. According to its recent 'State of the American Workplace' study, companies that rank in the top 25% of employee engagement have a 10% higher customer rating than those that rank outside that quartile.
These numbers paint a clear picture that workplace redesign needs to be more than just a physical transformation. Companies need to also look at the way employees are recruited, trained, and developed, which starts with thoroughly examining the employee journey. Survey and analyze what employees need, then use that information to create a blueprint of the kind of office that inspires employees to work toward high rates of customer satisfaction.
A New View of the Workplace
For a long time, employers thought just giving staff a place to do their best work was enough. Now, companies realize their offices need to be somewhere employees want to work for an extended period. Attracting and retaining talent is important, but it is also now tougher to do as platforms like LinkedIn make it easier to draw the attention of potential hires.
A side effect of the increase in competition is that companies are now studying the workplace to create flexible, collaborative, and productive environments. Keeping the best hires in-house means companies are following in the footsteps of the likes of Apple, Google, and Facebook to create flexible, productive, and innovative work environments that combine collaboration, recreation, and autonomy.
How does that happen? It’s not just a sparkling new floor plan or sections of cubicles, but realizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Here are some suggestions:
1. Mix the layout up. Forward-thinking organizations use a combination of layout options, as well as conference rooms, break areas, and other venues, to help inspire innovation and outside-the-box thinking.
If your office doesn’t have a lot of space to spare, encourage employees to work remotely if it’s helpful. The key is to get staff away from the notion that there’s just one way to do things.
Furthermore, don’t hesitate to freshen up your office’s current look. Be mindful of details and observe where your workspace could be improved. Anything from better lighting in the break room to more privacy for employees can be effective. No change is too small.
2. Manage your resources. Employee performance is a vital part of the experience, so put your staff in the position to perform at a high level. Make your office a nice space to work in, but also implement a strategy to bring out the best in your team.
Lean on HR to make sure there’s a clear understanding of what skills current and future employees will need to perform to the best of their abilities. Provide employees with the kinds of training and opportunities that let them see chances for professional growth.
Leaders should also continue educating themselves. Be a resource to your employees, but never stop looking for ways to teach them. Seek additional training internally or externally or look for certification courses that help with frontline training.
3. Track the results. Measure your efforts to see whether you’re having the success you envisioned. Survey staff regularly - maybe twice a month - with as many or as few questions as you’d like. The idea is to find areas that need to be addressed.
Informal discussions with employees also help and can be conducted at any time as a way to keep a finger on the collective pulse. Still, these opportunities to track feedback mean nothing if they’re not used to make improvements.
Put a system in place for instituting any changes. Have a point person within all your offices who can take employee feedback and turn it into solutions that improve the overall working environment.
Great workplaces should be tailored to employee needs. Physical layout is just one factor, so companies need a comprehensive idea of crafting the sort of environment that empowers employees and helps morale remain high. The more effort leadership puts into improving the quality of the employee experience, the harder the staff will work to make sure customers feel the same.