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The Workplace: What the survey says about your workplace as an expression of Brand, for Talent Attraction & Retention, Agility & Work Patterns

by Fran Ferrone

The Coordinate is a quarterly survey conducted by The Mancini Duffy Center for Workplace Innovation (CWI) to gain insight into ways that companies can maximize the performance of the workplace, promote innovation and above all, produce successful business results.

In 2013, The Coordinate focused on four topics: Brand, Talent Attraction and Retention, Agility and Work Patterns. Participants included an initial survey of respondents representing over twenty industries, validated by a second sampling of respondents from The McMorrow Corporate Facilities Management Report. Findings are depicted in a series of infographics including the CWI’s iP (Importance/Performance) GAP.

The iP Gap provides a quick visual guide to areas of concern, depicting characteristics most important to respondents that are performing least well. Here is a summary of The Coordinate’s 2013 findings:

Expression of Brand

While 93% of respondents reported that using the workplace to convey the company’s brand was important, almost two thirds (61%) reported that their companies did a poor job of expressing the brand. Increased use of color and more variety of space types (including collaborative areas and team rooms) were among the highly desired characteristics needing the most improvement. Along with the importance of brand expression, ‘sense of community’ and ‘awareness of what others are doing’ ranked highest in needs improvement in the iP GAP.

Talent Attraction & Retention

Characteristics that attracted people to their jobs changed somewhat once they were in the job. Money, growth opportunity and work/life balance remained priorities but a strong brand and an attractive work environment emerged as new priorities. Company performance was reported higher in smaller firms (50 employees or fewer) indicating that projecting a sense of community and mutual goals might be easier to convey in smaller organizations. Still, across all firms, the iP GAP showed lack of ability to concentrate and access to current technology as the highest deficiencies.

Accommodating Change with Agility

In addition to traditional offices and workstations, the most common space types offered to employees—reception areas, informal seating areas, break out spaces and conference rooms—do not provide the desired choice of settings reported in our Brand Survey, nor the flexibility needed to accommodate change. Twenty-two percent of respondents reported that these spaces were the first to go when occupancy needs increased and these spaces were converted to offices and workstations.

Work Patterns in the Workplace

People spend more than half of their work day (55%) performing concentrated work. 83% of them perform that work in an assigned individual workspace, yet 85% said they would be willing to use alternative spaces if provided. Ninety-seven percent of respondents reported working in teams; 67% work with team members who are located remotely. These numbers strongly suggest the need for space types within the workplace and the use of technology (within and outside the office) to catch up with and support the increasing diversity of work.

The 2013 Aha!

Satisfying real estate cost management priorities and people preferences are not necessarily mutually exclusive but potentially symbiotic goals. By offering a variety of space types within the workplace and provisioning the spaces and people with proper technology, workers can both collaborate more—within and outside the office—and avoid distractions when they need to do concentrated, heads down work. At the same time, investing in a variety of spaces and current technology can also reduce square footage, increase flexibility and better accommodate inevitable change and future growth.

An excerpt from the 2013 Coordinate follows.

Brand Performance

The ability of the work environment to promote company culture, create a sense of community among employees and make a positive and impactful impression on visitors needs improvement. Employees reported that all of these aspects were highly valued yet underperforming in the workplace. While a 25% Importance/Performance gap (the iP Gap) is satisfactory, a gap of 50% or more suggests areas that would benefit from extra attention and investment. The importance placed on these aspects by the respondents implicates the potentially positive impact improvement in these areas would have on employee satisfaction and productivity.

Cultural Impact

Certain attributes have particular effects on culture and the workplace. The Cultural Impact Matrix allows us to visually examine all attributes at a glance and see whether an attribute is a strength or weakness, and whether it is under or over-performing depending upon which quadrant the attribute falls into. The matrix shows that the attributes in the upper right quadrant—relating to collaboration, access, openness and well-being—are among those with the greatest impact on culture and in need of the most improvement.

To download the entire report, click here: ManciniDuffy_Coordinate2013

Fran Ferrone, Director, Center for Workplace Innovation, Mancini Duffy TSC, New York, is a skilled communicator and facilitator helping clients prepare for, communicate and manage change by aligning client-specific business drivers with company culture. Ms. Ferrone has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies in the US and abroad in the course of her 25-year career. As Director of the Center for Workplace Innovation, www.workplaceinnovation.com, at Mancini Duffy TSC, she leads the workplace strategy and research practice for the firm, an architectural and interiors practice devoted to creating architectural environments powered by innovative design that positively impact the lives and businesses of its clients. For over 90 years the firm has delivered award-winning design excellence to clients in the US and abroad and across multiple industry sectors.