Let's be honest with each other. The way we think about work is absolutely broken and outdated. I know what you're thinking, "what about all of the employee engagement programs out there?" Unfortunately, inside of most organizations around the world, employee engagement has simply become a way to force employees to work in outdated workplace practices while giving them perks to make them happy. It's a short-term adrenaline shot designed to boost the annual employee engagement scores. Instead organizations are shifting to employee experience, which is the long-term organizational design that creates new workplace practices around people.
To learn more about this I did extensive research for a new book that just came out called The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate. As a part of the research I interviewed 150+ senior level executives, went through just as many publications, and analyzed 252 organizations around the world (funding for the research was graciously provided by Cisco and Lever). One of the things I learned is that every single employee experience for every employee at every company around the world is a combination of just three things, or more accurately, three environments which are: culture, technology, and the physical space. The world's top organizations do an amazing job at all three.
I looked at 10 variables around culture which include everything from diversity and inclusion to pay and benefits to managers who act as coaches and mentors. If I had to sum up what culture is, it's the feeling that employees get working for your organization. If you think of any prescription drug that has side effects, the culture is the side effects of your organization. Culture comprises 40% of the overall employee experience and it's also the trickiest one to master since it's not a tangible thing. Oftentimes organizations get very obsessed with culture, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can't be done at the expense of neglecting the other two environments.
The tools you use to get your job done comprise the technology environment of your organization. This includes the apps, hardware, software, mobile devices, and anything else you use for work. Technology acts as the central nervous system of the organization that connects people and information. Many of the concepts that you might be familiar with related to the future of work such as real time feedback and workplace flexibility, are not possible without technology. Furthermore, when the technology breaks down inside of our organizations, so do the human aspects around it. Here are I looked at 3 variables such as using consumer-grade technology and making sure all employees have access to the tools. Technology comprises 30% of the overall employee experience.
It should come as no surprise that the spaces in which we work are crucial to shaping our overall experience. The physical space includes the art the hangs on the wall, the open or closed floor plan, and even the food that your organization may offer. The physical space acts as a symbol for your organization that represents what it stands for and what it's like to work there. Studies also show that the physical space helps employees feel a sense of belonging and connection with the organization. For this environment I looked at 4 variables including having multiple floor plans and also workplace flexibility. The physical space comprised 30% of the overall employee experience.
Together, these three environments shape all employee experiences. This is what the world's top organizations like Amazon, Google, and Facebook have figured out. If you want to create a place where people truly want, not need to show up to work, you must do a great job of focusing on culture, technology, and the physical workspace.