5 Metrics that Prove the Employee Experience Matters

Fear not, we know that making a business case to upper management requires some hard facts to get their attention, and in this post, we’ve got them for you.

Most companies today know the value of creating a positive employee experience, but fewer realize how closely this is tied to the workplace and physical environment. Workers today have higher expectations of their workplace and experience at work, but when the “traditional workplace” (think: gray carpets, bland cubicles, stale coffee) remains the baseline, it’s not that hard to exceed expectations.

And when you pay closer attention to employee experience management, you’ll find the initial investment reaps rewards that exceed your expectations. Consider these metrics that show the power of improving your employee experience:

Flexible Workplaces Improve Productivity

A Vodafone survey found that 75% of companies worldwide have introduced flexible working policies, and of those, 83% reported increases in productivity as a result. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not surprised to hear that—but let’s look at why this might be happening.

First, employees feel better—physically, mentally, and emotionally—in an environment that meets basic human needs. We know that sitting at desks is terrible for our health, so a workplace that encourages people to get up and move around frequently, or that offers healthy food and drink options, improves physical health (and reduces absenteeism). Even the most introverted among us enjoy social interaction on occasion, so making it easy to meet and chat with coworkers (and not just those in your department) will create a better employee experience and help strong relationships develop.

Even better—how about giving the introvert the option to work separately from the outgoing extrovert, instead of forcing them to sit side-by-side in assigned cubicles all day, every day?

Second, workplaces that allow people to move around based on what they’re working on each day allows collaboration, teamwork, and innovation to flourish. You’ll get employees out of the “silos” that commonly form in traditional workplaces and start to see conversations between departments that lead to new ideas and initiatives.

Watch the Video: How Wayfinding Technology Can Shape the Employee Experience

Happy Employees Are Less Likely to Leave

Did you know that the cost to replace an employee ranges from 20% to over 200% of that employees’ salary, depending on their level of training and experience? Reducing the voluntary turnover rate can result in major cost savings—and while, yes, higher salaries can help, creating a better employee experience can go even further. In an EY survey, employees placed “a work environment that does not encourage teamwork” and “a boss that doesn’t allow you to work flexibly” in the top five reasons they would quit.

When employees feel supported and have the resources needed to do their job, their sense of satisfaction and pride in their work increases. A Gallup poll found that employees who are “engaged and thriving” are 59% less likely to look for another job. “Thriving,” in the study, refers to an employees’ well-being, an often-overlooked component of the employee experience. So looking at how your workplace fosters employees’ overall health and well-being, not just productivity, means higher retention rates and lower turnover costs.

Well-Designed Workplaces Facilitate Communication

Have you ever had an email chain that gets a little out of hand—someone misinterprets someone else’s meant-to-be-sarcastic remark, someone else who got looped in late didn’t realize what decision was being made? Have you ever stalked, eyes blazing, across the building to clear something up because 10 emails weren’t enough?

Wouldn’t it be easier if you were in a space that emphasized talking in person as a cornerstone of your employee experience? If it was easier to chat with someone face-to-face first, instead of trying to get eight people on an email chain to agree on something?

Fierce, Inc. conducted a survey in which 86% of respondents blamed lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures—missing deadlines or failing to meet department or company objectives. Is this a surprise to anybody? Probably not, but what may be surprising is how simple adjustments to the physical environment can go a lot further in fostering better communication than sending a memo with reminders about “how to communicate effectively with your team!

There are many options for the work environment, all of which impact the employee experience. An activity-based workplace as one example can do more than just improve communication on projects and initiatives. The combination of open, shared spaces and those dedicated for brainstorming or creative work encourage both ad-hoc and planned collaboration. By bringing senior management out of offices and interacting with younger employees on a regular basis, you’re also creating the possibility for mentorship relationships to develop.

Download White Paper: Creating an Activity Based Working Strategy

Attractive Workplaces and Culture Can Offset Lower Salaries

A study by HASSELL and Empirica found that 37% of respondents would accept a position with a lower salary if the workplace culture, environment, and technology offered was highly appealing. While salary has the largest single influence on a job’s attractiveness, when combined, workplace culture and workplace facilities had a greater influence. This means that a company that offers appealing workplace culture and facilities could potentially attract quality talent without having to offer top salaries.

If you’re seeking to attract top talent (aren’t we all?), these findings suggest that investing in workplace upgrades could be as beneficial as higher salary offerings. That can look like updating the furnishings and decor with a fresh, modern design, offering on-site facilities like a fitness center, bike parking, and outdoor areas, or implementing technology to improve the employee experience.

A Positive Employee Experience Means More Revenue

Jacob Morgan’s research on companies’ investments in employee experience management found that those investing heavily are listed in Glassdoor’ Best Places to Work list 11.5 times as often. And the Parnassus Endeavor Fund, which invests in companies commonly found on those “Best Places to Work” lists, has outperformed the S&P 500 with annualized returns of 12.2% (as of 2017). The idea is that companies that provide a stellar workplace culture will have employees who are motivated to work harder.

But as the rest of this post shows, it’s probably more than that—a great experience in the workplace is about setting it up to foster and encourage collaboration, creativity, and innovation. It also includes making it easy for employees to do their jobs on a day-to-day basis: ensuring their technology works and is user-friendly and providing spaces that specifically facilitate different kinds of work.

Now that you’re armed with hard numbers and facts, try pitching that workplace upgrade again.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your employee experience? Contact us today.


Why the Physical Workspace Is the Backbone of Corporate Culture

Mary works in the East Coast headquarters of a national firm. Every day, she commutes to a building the firm has been using since the 80s—and it looks almost the same now as it did in 1986. Rows of cubicles fill each floor. Most of the windows are blocked by enclosed offices used by upper management, so Mary sits under harsh fluorescent lights all day. Each week, the CEO sends out an all-company email with “words of wisdom” and a “motivating thought.” Each week, Mary rolls her eyes as she skims the email. His assistant just pulls these off Pinterest, she thinks. She opens a Word doc, drumming her fingers while waiting for her several-years-old desktop computer to start the program. She’s supposed to put together a layout for the company’s new brochure, which her boss said should be “colorful and edgy.” Hard to be colorful and edgy when you’re surrounded by gray walls all day.

Rhonda also works in the East Coast headquarters of a national firm. Just like Mary, she commutes to work every day, but when she gets to the office, instead of trudging to the same cubicle, she checks an app on her phone and finds an open phone bank because she’s starting her day with a conference call. At the phone bank, which is completely separated from the “focus zones” so she doesn’t distract her colleagues, there are comfortable, clean Bluetooth headsets that sync with her phone and there’s a power outlet on top of the desk — with a USB port so she can plug in both her phone and laptop. After her call, Rhonda runs into the VP of her department on her way to a breakout space where she’ll meet with a coworker to put the finishing touches on a presentation. Rhonda feels completely comfortable asking the VP if she’d mind popping in to the breakout space in an hour or so to give feedback on their presentation.

Who is more likely to speak favorably about her employer? Would you expect Mary or Rhonda to be at the same company 5 or 10 years from now?

Watch Video: 5 Tips for Companies Moving to Agile Office Space

Work Environment and Culture Aren’t the Same Thing, But…

A company’s work environment and culture starts with leadership, but it’s best shown through the physical workspace. Think of it as a real-world example of “show, don’t tell.” For instance…

  • You can tell employees you support collaboration, but leave them in assigned cubicles /closed-door offices… or you can create open, shared workspaces that make it easy for an accounting intern to meet and talk to an HR director.
  • You can tell employees you want them to feel supported and comfortable at work… or you can implement technology that allows for individual temperature control so half of your employees aren’t complaining about being too cold.
  • You can tell employees that they should feel empowered to make decisions… or you can let them decide where they want to work each day based on what they’re doing.

The ideal work environment and culture is, of course, a little different for every company—and you should consider whether changing your physical workspace to an agile work environment is even the right move for your company’s goals. 

However, once leaders commit to building a culture that is collaborative, the physical environment needs to support this. You can announce a big new shift at the corporate retreat and get everyone jazzed up, but once they return to their desks and cubicles, they’ll go back to the same old way of doing things if nothing changes in their work environment.

Kicking Off Change with the Physical Environment

Trying to figure out how the work environment and culture affect each other is a bit of a chicken-egg conundrum: Does a collaborative culture change the physical workspace, or does changing the workspace change the company culture?

The answer is…both. 

If leadership is committed to a creating a certain company culture, changing the workplace is one of the best ways to make that abstract idea a reality. You don’t have an “open office culture” so much as a collaborative culture that’s facilitated by an open office design.

When done right, changing the workplace can lead to changing the way your company operates. Imagine if every employee’s day was closer to Rhonda’s experience than Mary’s—what would that mean for your company?

Creating a positive physical environment leads to a more engaged and productive employee. People work better in a space that promotes physical well-being and social interaction. Then, give them the freedom to work in a quiet, distraction-free space when they need to write a report and move to a more stimulating “break out room” when brainstorming product upgrades. They won’t just get their work done more efficiently, they’ll feel better about the work they’re doing.

Conversation Leads to Collaboration Leads to Innovation

From the start, we’ve been about enabling a work environment and culture that fosters face-to-face interactions. Collaboration and teamwork need to become “new standard operating procedure” for companies to stay competitive , but getting people to work like this won’t happen if you just tell them to collaborate.

One of the most effective ways to get people talking and, eventually, innovating, is to remove the physical barriers that keep them separated. It seems silly to think that members of different departments won’t talk to each just because they can’t see each other, but this is what happens in most traditional workplaces. It leads to “information silos” where, for example, sales and marketing may actually be working close to each other, but have no idea what the other is doing.

Download Free White Paper: Best Practices for the Modern Workplace Environment

But once you facilitate communication by updating the work environment, you’ll start to see those teams talking, sharing ideas, and coming up with new, better, more innovative solutions to problems.

Keep Underlying Goals in Mind

If you’re nervous about changing your work environment and culture so radically, talk to each department and find out what their biggest goals and challenges are. Marketing may want to start making better videos for social media campaigns. IT might be tired of keeping track of dozens of different models of computers, laptops and phones because each department uses something different.

What if Marketing had a designated space for recording video—soundproofed, well-lit, with storage for any props or equipment they may use? What if, because everyone had shared workstations instead of assigned offices and cubicles, IT was able to streamline and standardize the equipment issued?

As you make the changes to your work environment, keep these goals in mind and do what’s needed to support each department. This also shows your commitment to supporting your employees and improving their everyday experience at work.

A lot of elements come together to make your work environment and culture “ideal,” but the underlying question should always be: How can you make people feel productive, supported, and empowered?

Have questions about how changing your physical workplace can transform your company culture? Contact us today.


Serraview Expands Mobile App Offering with Beco Integration

Serraview, the leading provider in workplace optimization solutions, announced today the integration of Beco, the premier indoor location and workplace analytics platform, to its workforce enablement mobile app, Serraview Interact.

“Introducing the power of Beco to our already robust workforce enablement app completely changes the way in which employees will experience their workplace,” says Stephen Macnee, CEO of Serraview. “The combined solution delivers mobile workplace productivity tools for the workforce and space utilization and collaboration insights for management.”

Serraview has embedded Beco’s SDK into its mobile app, Serraview Interact, in order to activate Beco’s real-time utilization data of shared spaces – saving employees critical time searching for free spaces like common areas, desks and meeting rooms.

“By seamlessly connecting people to physical spaces, Beco activates real-world experiences indoors while making it easy to capture space utilization and collaboration insights,” says Tom Zampini, CEO of Beco. “Serraview’s robust workplace management platform is a smart choice for any company looking to future-proof their workplace and empower their employees.”

Serraview Interact with Beco is an easily deployable package that can have an organization’s building online in weeks not months. All in, the combined app, also empowers CREs to better understand what shared spaces are being used most via heatmaps and can plan future designs based on this information.

To learn more about the integration or to see a demo, contact us today >>