When you left your office that Friday afternoon last March, little did you know that that would be the last time you’d enter your office for the next year and a half. Suddenly, like a flash in the night, schools and offices were closed, and you were forced to work from home for the next year and a half. Not only has our workspace changed, but also our mentalities and perceptions of the world have shifted.
Since then, the world has changed.
Priorities and values have changed.
The pandemic has allowed people to reconsider and reflect on their values, lifestyles, and purpose in life. When the immediate state of mortality is questioned, individuals become shaken and begin questioning the meaning of their lives. The pandemic has only fast-tracked this process and gave individuals who were so caught up in their busy lives to step back and reassess what was really important to them.
People are heading back to work, and are now questioning their satisfaction with their careers, and how they’re spending their time. According to a study conducted by Gallup, a third of employees believe that “The mission and purpose of my organization make me feel my job is important.” That number has since increased to eight in ten employees and has resulted in a 51% reduction in absenteeism, a 64% drop in safety incidents, and a 29% improvement in quality.
Employees are pushing back at organizations and asking for more. Their perception of an ideal workplace has changed, and now, they want to work and be challenged in workspaces that are catered to them, and help them grow.
Case Study: A Look at Google
Let’s take a look at one of the leading employers in the country: Google.
Ranked the Best Company to Work For on Fortune’s list for the past six years, Google has maintained its reputation for hiring and retaining the country’s top employees. With over two million high-quality applicants each year backing up their reputation, Google has invested heavily into their employees and the design of their workplace.
For more information, you can read more about our case study on Google here.
While all of Google’s amenities seem impressive, we realize that it might not be financially responsible for your organization to invest such amenities for your employees right off the bat. Because we realize from our experience that not everyone (ourselves included) has the financial budget that Google has to invest into their workplace, we’ve broken down Google as an employer into three core concepts that you can install into your organization.
At the core, Google strives to help people feel different and focuses on how to help their people be their best selves. You don’t need a large financial budget to do this. You just need to let people be authentically themselves, open up communication channels for your employees, allow employees to thrive in their geniuses and show employees the impact of their work.
Letting People Be Authentically Them
How well do you thrive in environments where you don’t feel comfortable being your best self? We’re all different individuals and have our own unique preferences for how we work. For some people, working in the morning is the dream, while for others, it’s at night when they thrive. Get to know your people and allow them to work in ways that work best for them, so they can create the best work they can. However, it is important to note that companies that succeed in nurturing individuality, therefore, may have to forgo some degree of organizational orderliness.
Understand when your employees work best and accommodate their preferences – that’s how you know they can deliver you their best work.
Opening Up Communication Channels
Opening up communication channels can prevent silos from forming in your workplace. Silos occur when there are limited communication channels between your employees and information gets lost or concealed, and this can be the reason why some teams fail in the workplace. When separate teams fail to relay vital information, not only is a communication barrier at work formed, but also an emotional barrier. This may lead to employees who are hesitant to share knowledge or collaborate across the board have “tunnel vision” which creates a toxic company culture. Therefore, create opportunities for your employees to communicate and collaborate so that they can foster an initial connection and are inclined to share information with other teams.
Allowing People to Thrive in Their Geniuses
Though they may go unnoticed at times, every individual has a specific genius(es) where when given a task in that realm, they would thrive. We’ve seen this through our own employees, such as Lily and Joyce, our interns that we’ve hired this summer.
While Lily is extremely analytical and thrives in numbers, Joyce thrives in being creative and focuses on the bigger picture. When they first met, I told them to find ways to work together on projects so that both their talents could be fully utilized. After they met, they realized they could create better material and content if they worked collectively together. For instance, with our newsletter giveaway content (which you can sign up to get here), Lily pulls the main points and key phrases that are trending in our newsletter, while Joyce would design and put together the information so it’s easy to digest.
On their own, Joyce and Lily may have created very different deliverables, with Lily being extremely detail-oriented and intentional, and Joyce being design-focused and wanting everything to be aesthetically captivating. Now, our newsletter giveaways are leveraging the best qualities in both of them, being both poignant, relevant, and attractive. Now, both Lily and Joyce consistently work together on a multitude of projects and are reliant on one another, allowing each of them to really bring their best foot forward for my company.
Showing People the Impact of Their Work
According to an HBR study, more than 9 out of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work, with most saying they’d be willing to forego 23% of their entire future lifetime earnings in order to have a job that was always meaningful, and 80% of the respondents would rather have a boss who cared about them finding meaning and success in work than receive a 20% pay increase. To take advantage of this statistic, and the impact of meaning behind work, organizations should allow their employees to see the impact of their work, and show that they’re making a difference in someone else’s life.
How Can You Design the Best Workplace?
So now what? What can you do to design the best and optimal workplace? How can you improve well-being in the workplace and how can you implement a culture of empowerment in the workplace? We’ve got you covered. Each and every workplace is different and will require a different design to best fit their employee’s needs. With that in mind, we’ve created four steps Here are four steps to help you design the best workplace, whatever your employees’ needs may be.
1. Ask your employees and teams what their ideal work environment looks like, and continually demonstrate your values.
Every employee and workplace needs something different to thrive, and it is up to you as their employer to support them. For instance, what are your values at work? And how do these values affect the cohesiveness of the workplace?
Ask your employees questions such as the following to understand them better and connect with them at the heart:
- When do you perform your best work?
- How do you work best?
- When are you your best self?
- What drains your energy?
- What kind of learner are you?
- How do you like to be managed?
- How do you like to be recognized?
- What do you need to feel connected to your team?
- When are they the least creative?
- What do you value in a workplace?
2. Consolidate the information and determine what elements you need to add to and change at work.
In order to consolidate genuine and honest feedback from your employees, ensure that you create a safe psychological environment that your employees feel comfortable in sharing feedback. Another essential aspect of asking for feedback is reporting to your organization the feedback you’ve received, and setting realistic expectations on things you can and can’t change. By doing so, you’re instilling a sense of transparency within your organization, and employees can now hold you accountable to your changes. Note that these changes might not necessarily be all physical changes to your office but also non-physical changes to your environment.
3. Implement the changes into the workplace and consistently ask for feedback from your employees.
This is arguably the most important step in designing and optimizing your organization’s workplace. Show your employees that you’ve heard their concerns and feedback through your actions in implementing the changes into the workplace.
Also, continually ask for more feedback and check in with them regularly. There can always be something that you can do to improve, and there will always be other ways to support your employees so they can deliver their best work. Are your changes effective? What needs to be changed? What has and hasn’t worked well?
When people feel better at work, they perform better. Not only will they deliver you quality work and results, but they’ll also become your biggest brand advocates. When people feel cared for, they’re going to want to be the best advocates of your company and sell it to others. The more it gets out there, the more people want to be a part of your organization and your work family.
What does your current workplace look like right now? How satisfied are your employees with their workplace and work environment? To learn more about connecting with your employees from the heart, and improving your workplace management, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of free resources, and much more!
If you need further support on designing the best workplace, book a call with me here; I’d love to listen and provide support in any way I can. Or learn more about how you can design the optimal workplace and connect with your employees from the heart through our Influential Leadership keynote or about developing your team’s communication skills through our Communicating with an Impact keynote.