The short answer is yes – your business environment really does impact employee output.
But that answer isn’t very helpful.
To really profit from an improved business environment, we should learn:
- How the workplace affects employee performance, productivity, and mindset
- What we can do about it
- Effective ways to improve the business environment – and, as a result, employee performance
Let’s take a look at each of these points in more detail.
How the Business Environment Affects Employee Performance
The business environment should not be treated as an afterthought.
It impacts a number of employee metrics, including:
- Attraction. Good workers prefer good work environments. Top talent, for instance, will gravitate towards great work environments – such as those developed by Google or other creative startups.
- Engagement. Good business environments also impact employee engagement. For example, a creative company, such as a design studio, can fuel creativity by building a creative, innovative workspace.
- Productivity. The business environment also affects employee productivity. An appropriate work environment can either stimulate or hinder worker output.
- Satisfaction. Also, the right business environment can improve employee satisfaction. Likewise, an inappropriate work environment can decrease worker satisfaction – that, in turn, can decrease engagement, performance, and the other metrics mentioned here.
- Performance. Workers who are more engaged and satisfied also perform better.
- Retention. Finally, the right business environment can contribute to employee retention.
The business environment, of course, is only part of the equation.
When it comes to employee success, there are many other factors at play.
One of those is the employee experience.
Understanding the Employee Experience
The employee experience can be mapped out in a variety of ways.
It can be understood through the lens of the employee life cycle, for instance.
That life cycle covers an employee’s entire experience with a company.
Stages of the employee life cycle include activities such as:
- Recruitment and pre-hire interactions
- Orientation and employee onboarding
- Training and engagement
- Exit and post-exit interactions
A number of factors affect this experience, including:
- Physical work environment. The physical workspace can have a large impact on worker experiences. Workspace elements can can include: interior decoration, office layout, furniture, the building, and the business’s location.
- The workplace culture. Is the culture open? Relaxed? Competitive? Fast-paced? The culture should fit with its employees. And it should also align with the values and mission of the organization.
- Employees’ individual job duties. An individual’s job duties are a core part of that person’s experience. Ideally, a worker should find their job fulfilling, stimulating, and meaningful. Jobs that don’t meet these criteria can drive down engagement and productivity.
- Managers and coworkers. Team composition matters. Effective managerial skills, for instance, have a big impact on employee success.
- Workers’ careers, career path, and career prospects. If the employee’s career is a good fit, then they will be more supportive of the organization. Their career prospects will also impact their engagement and productivity. Workers will be more satisfied when they have access to promotional opportunities and career development opportunities, for instance.
- The organization’s mission and values. An organization should be aligned with its mission. And employees should also feel that they are aligned with that mission. When workers’ values and organizational values are in sync, employees will be much more motivated and productive.
Depending on who you ask, the business environment can include a number of these variables – such as the physical work environment, culture, and climate.
However, it is only one part of the employee experience.
To improve employee output, businesses should look beyond the business environment.
They should start instead with the employee experience.
How to Improve the Employee Experience
Here are a few ways to improve the employee experience and the business environment:
- Better tools and technology. Quality tools and technology can dramatically improve worker performance. It also affects morale – low-quality tools, for instance, erode productivity, morale, and efficiency.
- The right skills. If employees don’t have the right skills, they won’t operate at full productivity. Good employee training is a must. On the one hand, they will be more productive in the workplace. Also, though, they’ll be more likely to stay with companies that support their career aims.
- Good management. A number of studies point to poor management as a problem in the workplace. Gallup, for instance, says that only 20% of employees say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
- Fulfilling, meaningful work. Everyone wants to gain meaning from their job. And employers can help workers find meaning in a few ways. Career development and skills training, as mentioned, can help. Improving alignment between an individual’s job and the corporate mission, as mentioned, is another.
- Well-being programs. Well-being programs – or corporate wellness programs – help improve employee health, both physically and emotionally. These programs can lower stress, decrease healthcare costs, improve productivity, and more.
Change managers, HR professionals, and business leaders should all work together to examine the potential ROI of employee experience improvements.
Great employee experiences, after all, positively affect worker metrics and an organization’s bottom line.