The employee-centric workplace is not just about beanbag chairs and attracting new employees. (I have nothing against beanbag chairs!) But even the hippest, coolest environment can look great at first but that doesn’t guarantee a harmonious workplace for the long-term. A true employee-centric mindset is one that organizations adopt for their entire workforce–the environment, as well as those less tangible variables. Ann Frey, a Corporate Leadership Coach says it best when she defines employee-centric organizations as ones who “create an environment where you honor your employees, where you take care of them, so they can take care of your customers.” I love this definition–it not only addresses the employees, but also supports the importance of the success of the entire organization to provide a better experience for customers.
As an FM organization we can greatly affect a positive employee-centric workplace. Before I discuss how, let’s look at the essential components of organizations that put the employee front and center:
Culture is defined as the personality of the organization and embodies the beliefs and values of a company or organization. Workplace culture not only encourages employees to interact based on upon embedded attitudes and traditions, it also considers the space where work is performed (enter the beanbag chair, stage left).
It’s no surprise that employee wellness is quickly becoming a top concern for employers. Rising health care costs and loss of productivity due to employees missing work due to sickness or lack of desire to perform at an elevated level. The actual workplace also impacts wellness; studies have proven that access to natural light and in general a healthier physical environment improves employee productivity and physical and mental wellbeing.
Productivity in the workplace is a measure of the efficiency of individual workers, groups of workers (cohorts) or of the overall organization as it relates to employees. Productivity is typically measured over a specific period. In the employee-centric workplace, the workspace itself is designed to enhance efficiency and increase collaboration thereby collectively improving productivity overall. Productivity is also closely tied to health, wellness and employee satisfaction.
Business agility refers to qualities that allow organizations to respond rapidly to changes in the internal and external environment without losing momentum relating to their defined business objections and goals. Organizations that can rapidly adapt while maintaining flexibility and balance not only for the business but for their employees help support the agile business.
Organizations who have innovation at their core tend to support an open of exchange of ideas amongst employees. Highly effective innovative companies do this at all levels of the organization, ranging from new employees all the way to the C-suite. Office environments that support a high level of openness and collaboration often can help to enhance the mutual exchange of ideas more freely in innovative workplaces.
Collaboration in the workplace is the bedrock of the innovative organization, and includes small and even larger groups of employees working closely with one another to exchange ideas and information. Workplace collaboration can be encouraged and enhanced when organizations provide an environment that makes it easy and natural for employees to move from one group of people (or one department) to the next–removing barriers that might typically keep an organization siloed.
A mission historically defines what a company does, and helps to communicate the values of the organization. The mission is often defined in a statement that typically describes the companies function, markets, competitive advantages and its reason for being. In the employee-centric organization, the mission is less about the “what a company does,” and more about “how we all achieve it together.”
From an FM perspective, we need to stay informed and in step with the changes that impact each of these organizational components. For while each impacts the employee, and each brings a vastly different benefit to the table, they all have one thing in common; the workplace, or physical environment. By embracing all of these components as a single, collective whole, the employee-centric facility team can enhance performance, productivity, wellness, culture, innovation, and even happiness–with, or without, the beanbag chair.