Nature abhors a vacuum. Look no further than the modern workplace.
In the not-too-distant past, employees were ecstatic about the bottomless pit of perks awaiting them—everything from unlimited snacks, catered lunches, and liquid refreshments to pet-friendly policies, ping pong tables, and onsite gyms.
Today, they desire an employment environment that transcends amenities. As a benefits and trends survey from AON discovered, work is no longer a linear endeavor. It’s an intertwined compilation of interactions and emotions that can’t be contained by office walls or hours.
You don’t need to turn your place of business into a meditation retreat. But you do need to consider the experience of your employees in a holistic—even emotional—way.
Read on to learn what goes into creating a workplace experience that will help you attract and retain the best employees out there.
Company culture 101
According to Quantum Workplace, which conducted Inc.’s Best Workplaces workplace experience survey, leading organizations share an employee-centric company culture. Translation? These frontrunners provide a wealth of unique employee experience options.
One of the most meaningful is professional development. Learning and growing on a regular basis is the basis for healthy employees and healthy companies. go2HR did a study showing that 40% of people who are on the receiving end of poor training are out the door within a year of taking the job.
While encouraging professional development may not be in your organization’s wheelhouse, it’s worth taking under consideration. Here are a few helpful hints courtesy of Justworks:
- Have regular reviews
- Encourage outside class attendance
- Offer tuition reimbursement for continued education
As a study from Deloitte highlights, another excellent way to heighten your company culture is to cultivate volunteerism. It not only boosts morale—way more than traditional group happy hours—but the entire workplace experience. In fact, over 75% of respondents noted that volunteering is critical to one’s overall well-being.
With such a high level of popularity, there’s no reason not to encourage volunteerism. Here are a few suggestions from WeWork to get the proverbial ball rolling:
- Provide paid time off for volunteering
- Establish a volunteer workday
- Partner with a non-profit
Workplace technology delights workers
With millennials flooding the workforce—by 2020, they will comprise half of working Americans —technology is playing a major role in improving the workplace experience. And they’re not just looking for functionality or ease of use. They want memorable and positive connections, like the ones they’re accustomed to as lifelong digital consumers.
Spoiler alert: technology affects retention.
A RingCentral survey found that 83 percent of younger employees made it abundantly clear that a seamless communication platform, complete with all the social media bells and whistles, would provide the incentive to stay with their company longer.
You’ll do well to keep up with workplace technology trends and the types of tools this new generation craves. The same survey reported that 62 percent of workers ages 18 to 34 would be incentivized to work harder if they had such digital extras as team messaging and video meetings at their disposal.
Companies are making workplace experience work
In case you were thinking that workplace experience might be just a fad, this section will dispel that notion in a hurry. Here are just a few of the companies that are pushing the employee envelope.
Aurora, Illinois may not be known for being a touchy-feely town but the employees of this accounting firm have access to one-on-one support from a life coach and an outside therapist.
Employees at the Los Angeles wealth management firm are treated like college professors. They accrue a week of paid sabbatical time for every year they work there. After four years, they get a paid one month off.
The New York City data-management and intelligence company not only fills its office with musical instruments but it pays for staff to book time and jam at a local recording studio.
There are many more companies that have dived in head first and are making a serious splash. Inc. uncovered these uplifting stats that make the point:
74.2% of employees surveyed in 2019 said they were engaged by work compared to 72.1% last year. And the group of disengaged workers fell from 2.1% to 1.7%.
A great way to know if you’re hitting the work experience sweet spot is to do like Big Sea, a web design company in St. Petersburg, Florida, and get feedback via monthly surveys.
Optimize your workplace experience, mesmerize your employees
We’ve just scratched the surface of how to strengthen your company culture and keep your employees happy, healthy, and in your employ for some time to come.
Delve deeper into all available avenues you can take by listening to an episode of our workplace experience podcast, Empowered: Envisioning Workplaces That Work.