July 29, 2020 | Tyler Staton

“I’m considering leaving my job. I don’t like their uptight office. I’d rather work out of a more casual and social space.” The comment won’t come as a surprise for those in the industry who can’t seem to go a day without hearing about the importance of workplace experience. Ironically, these comments came from the employee of an office landlord. A landlord who’s competing to lease space by positioning it as a way tenants can attract talent by creating a better workplace experience.

The logic behind workplace experience is simple. Businesses want to keep their employees happy and loyal. Providing a better workplace experience helps them achieve that. Therefore, businesses will pay more to be in a building and space that provides a better experience for their employees. At first glance, the logic does seem to check out. Co-working operators have been capitalizing on the trend with SMEs and startups, and some traditional real estate giants are spending big to restructure their operations, reposition their assets and even build apps, all with the goal of offering tenants a better experience in their buildings.

It’s hard to tell if the real estate industry has truly bought into the trend or if this is just the latest platitude that has found its way into slick sales pitches that convince companies that they are just a new office space away from being “a company people want to work for”. One would hope that it is a genuine conviction that underpins the talk about placing more focus on employee experience. The virtue would not be misplaced. According to Harvard Business Review, companies that provided the best experience had four times higher average profits, two times higher average revenues, 40% lower turnover and 24% smaller headcount than those companies classified as non-experiential enterprises.

It would seem logical then as the line between our physical and digital worlds blur in a post COVID world, that focusing on employee experience would be just as important in the digital world as it is in the physical. In fact, technological and physical environments are two of the three factors that employees say matter most to them. But with technology, employers are facing ever-increasing expectations from employees to provide consumer-grade business applications. Everyone is already using world-class software every day — for free. LinkedIn, Google, Instagram, Facebook have set the quality benchmark for what employees expect from their digital tools. Can spreadsheets and legacy software deliver on those expectations?

In the same way workers have come to expect more from their workspaces, they also expect more from their digital work tools. Companies that deliver a great digital experience to employees will have a significant advantage in attracting the next generation of talent. It's time to invest in employee digital experience for the same reasons it is worth investing in a new office space.

Source: hbr.org/2017/03/why-the-millions-we-spend-on-employee-engagement-buy-us-so-little

Tyler Staton

Co - Founder | Talox

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