08 Feb 2019
Icon - Physical Environment

Putting people at the heart of workplace experience

Raj Verma, SVP Human Resources, Corporate Services, Sodexo

It’s no secret that happy, engaged employees are more productive and that organisations are becoming more serious in implementing strategies to drive engagement and wellbeing. Companies recognise that their success depends not only on attracting the best talent, but also on retaining, motivating and engaging employees through a workplace experience and culture that allows them to thrive.

A UK survey report published by CIPD in 2018 reported that two-fifths (40%) of organisations had a proactive strategy for engagement and wellbeing, yet in the same study, 37% of respondents said that work-related stress had increased over the past year. As organisations look for ways to simplify interactions and reduce overload, the employee experience has come into focus as a key area for improvement.

Part of the challenge comes with the changing nature of the workplace as the line between people’s work and home are blurring. Where and how people work is not fixed, and for many, the employee experience now extends beyond the physical workplace and the 9–5 workday. According to a recent YouGov survey, nine in ten employees (89%) consider flexible working to be a key motivator to their productivity levels within the workplace. An organisation’s success is based on communities of people connecting, collaborating and performing – but the challenge is to make that happen in a workplace that is more fluid than ever before.

Striving to achieve the optimum workplace experience requires a focus on the interplay between the ‘big picture’ and the minutiae of employees’ working lives, as well as understanding the links between the physical human-centric aspects of the work and digital solutions that can support it.

At Sodexo, we are passionate believers in the human-centred and experience-based workplace, where individual talents are released, where people can invent, inspire, lead and learn. This is reflected in our mission to improve quality of life for our clients and employees. We are strongly ‘purpose driven’ and this informs our approach and mission as a services provider, partnering with our client organisations to understand their purpose and goals, and delivering a suite of services, both onsite and beyond the walls of the built environment that can enhance workplace experience and support positive, engaged cultures.

Sodexo is using experience design to create more coherent and immersive workplace with the purpose of making people’s lives easier and more enjoyable. This involves looking at all aspects of the workplace – including food, technology, the physical environment, benefits and rewards as well as health and wellness. A great example is the Social Hub concept that we have launched in France, which is an experience design-led workplace solution that brings together space for co-working, relaxing, eating and co-making/ creating. The solution is designed to help companies to create a more collaborative and productive workplace.

Our recent workplace trend report on Human Capital Management 3.0: Transforming the Employee Experience highlights a number of inevitable barriers as organisations look to operationalise employee engagement and enhance the workplace experience. There can be issues to address around disparate technologies and departmental responsibilities. There certainly isn’t simply a magic ‘one size fits all’ experience formula. However, many companies are already transforming the employee experience through innovative design thinking, coupled with a clear focus on their purpose and mission, and taking a human-centric approach. This is certainly an approach that is driving Sodexo’s future thinking both as an employer and a quality of life services provider.

For further information on Sodexo’s Workplace services please contact Nik Ironside-Wood.

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