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Insights and intel on how you should be thinking about your space

Designing for the Employee Experience

Get ready for it.  The future of work is all about the Employee Experience.

In the war for talent, the power balance has shifted from employers to employees, who have more options than ever when it comes to their careers.

Companies serious about being a magnet for high caliber talent are paying attention and the result is a focus on the Employee Experience. If you aren’t familiar with this term, you will be, as more and more companies like GE hire Chief Employee Experience Culture Officers. It is commonly defined as the sum of an employee’s experiences within three realms: culture, technological environment and physical space – three things that exist in every organization, regardless of size or industry.

Physical space is the most visible and easily recognized piece of the Employee Experience, and an important consideration on the recruiting and retention front.  So, what are some things to consider when investing in your physical space to enhance the Employee Experience?

  • The consumerization of HR.  Companies invest in highly designed consumer-facing spaces to meet their demands for experiences that are personal and memorable. Employees carry those same expectations through the front door of their places of employment. They want space that reflects how they see themselves and their tastes in an environment that feels unique.
  • Blurring of personal and professional.  Generation X and Millennials see their work and personal lives as closely intertwined. As the artificial boundaries of these two realms of life fall away, many employees want a professional space that looks increasingly like the personal spaces where they chose to spend their time.
  • Happiness as a design consideration. Organizations are foregoing the sterile strategies of Employee Engagement in favor of spurring employee happiness. Happiness is a somewhat vague proxy for a series of constructs that we might be able to debate. What is becoming increasingly harder to debate is the connection between performance and happiness, as extoled by author and Harvard Professor, Shawn Achor in his TED Talk, The Secret To Better Work.  Here are some things that we do know contribute to happiness and that can be designed into the physical space:
    • Control – The ability to choose where and how work gets done within the space
    • Well-Being - cues and prompts that mitigate stress and encourage healthy habits
    • Connection – an opportunity to build relationships and networks of support with others
    • Belonging – a sense of shared identity and shared values or mission

Great space can be created from scratch or reconfigured from existing environments to trigger these feelings and ultimately be a powerful, visible tool in your talent arsenal. We’ll explore these ideas and research further in future blog posts. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about these insights or how to bring these ideas to life in your organization sooner.

insightsAli Croft