Over the last few years, the workplace has undergone a seismic shift, not just in where people work but also in what they expect from their workplace. The conversation surrounding the employee experience garnered attention in 2022 and has continued to be a top priority among organizations in the coming year.
Gartner’s annual survey of more than 800 human resources (HR) leaders revealed that 47 percent of HR executives plan to prioritize the employee experience going into 2023. Additionally, 53 percent view organizational change management as a leading priority, and 60 percent plan to tackle leadership effectiveness to help managers and other leaders better serve the workforce’s needs.
In truth, the evolving nature of what employees are looking for started before the pandemic. But COVID-19 accelerated many of the trends in the pre-pandemic workplace and ushered in a new age, one that demands employees be seen, heard, and valued.
The Need for Putting Employees at the Forefront
The Great Resignation shook the work world as employees began leaving their jobs at historic rates in 2021. Four million people quit their jobs in April 2021 while March 2022 revealed a record-breaking 4.5 million people resigned for reasons unrelated to retirement, an increase of 152,000 resignations from the month prior.
Various factors contributed to this still-ongoing phenomenon. Many workers evaluated their priorities during the pandemic spurring them to seek new opportunities. Ultimately, employees across the country began voicing their demands for increased pay, professional fulfillment, and an improved work-life balance.
The culture of the workplace directly impacts the organization’s productivity. It’s an essential factor in attracting and retaining top talent, boosts employee engagement, and sets everyone up for success. Leaders value people as an essential resource, the organization invests in its employees, and those employees who have this positive experience are more prone to staying at the organization.
By shifting to prioritizing employees and their work experiences, employee retention and productivity will rise. To achieve it, many leaders and organizations must shift their communication styles and approaches to change management.
Start With a Focus on the Individual Person
Paycor’s “Human Resources in 2023: Insights and Predictions” survey revealed that retention and recruiting are top priorities among C-suite executives, business owners, and leaders. Company culture is among the top drivers of retention, which requires leaders and managers to begin focusing on the individuals driving organizational success.
Engaged employees are more likely to remain at a company. They’re also more productive and invested in the company’s overall success.
One completely cost-free strategy for improving that experience is by providing increased individual attention. Get to know their strengths, weaknesses, interests, goals, and needs. By taking time to get to know your employees and being intentional with effective communication, active listening, and trust building, you can increase morale among individual employees and the team as a whole. During the process, employee engagement is likely to increase as people feel valued and appreciated. A cascade of positive effects may follow.
Promote Flexibility, Voice, and Agency
Today’s workforce demands some level of flexibility. By investing time in getting to know employees, leaders can also identify opportunities for flexibility that best matches their employee’s and the company’s needs.
Results from Buffer’s “2022 State of Remote Work” underscore the importance of giving employees agency over where they work. The survey included a mix of employees and independent consultants or freelancers, with 49 percent working fully remotely, and another 39 percent working in a hybrid arrangement. Only 3 percent of those surveyed wanted to work full-time in the office.
The pandemic forced organizations to work remotely. It was successful, which proved it was possible. Now, as the workplace is undergoing post-pandemic changes, employees expect some level of flexibility in where and how they work, whether that means a hybrid schedule or remaining fully remote.
Use Employee Input to Create a Dynamic Workspace
To get the most value from physical workspaces, organizations must fulfill what employees need. First, leaders must learn how their workforce wants to use the office. That’s where CORT can help, with services that encourage workplaces of all types and sizes to become on that’s Permanently Flexible™.
Because the office isn’t a space everyone has to work from, leaders must gain a nuanced understanding of how their space is being used now and how employees want to use it in the future. Other helpful details include the types of spaces needed and the optimal configurations to satisfy those requirements and design a workplace people will be happy to use.
A good starting point is by talking to your employees. Use town halls, forums, and surveys to gauge how employees work best now and what they’d like to see in the future. By gaining input, leaders can make employee-centered workplace decisions while also boosting their connection with their workforce and strengthening the mutual respect between employees and leadership.
Additionally, you might consider workplace occupancy studies using the metrics and objective data delivered by workplace sensor technology from 4SITE by CORT. This allows you to measure how a space is being used. The sensors also reveal dwell time but offer complete privacy to alleviate any security concerns. That data can then be used to make sound, critical decisions about long-term real estate strategies and optimize the workspace while adjusting to evolving office uses.
Once those strategies are in place, CORT’s Furniture-as-a-Service™ (FaaS) offers the ability to pivot quickly and efficiently in the face of changing needs. Instead of coping with assets that require maintenance or costly expenditures on buying new furniture to meet changing employee needs, FaaS allows every business access to exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. CORT handles all the setup, delivery, and pick-up of our furnishings. When those needs change, you can modify what you have and change up the configurations without missing a beat.
Aligning Employee Values With Company Values
The workplace may be changing, but the organizations set to weather those changes best are those that prioritize their most critical assets: their employees. Providing a positive employee experience is more important than ever, particularly in the wake of the Great Resignation and the growing Quiet Quitting trend.
Making the workforce feel valued and heard is essential. Getting to know each individual and providing some level of autonomy and agency in their daily work schedules and the workplace itself can increase employee engagement and productivity dramatically while enriching workplace culture.
With a strong organizational culture comes trust between employees and leadership. In an age when retention and recruiting are immensely challenging, it’s critical to evolve with the times and remain flexible and agile.
As the organization’s workspace needs change, CORT Furniture Rental is here to help fulfill those needs quickly and efficiently, allowing businesses to be nimble in the face of so much uncertainty. Learn more about CORT’s FaaS today to see how we can help you design and execute a positive employee experience.