Research has long looked into the connection between a positive employee experience and employee performance and retention. But the IBM and Globoforce teams have delved a little deeper to determine how employee experience might also correlate to organizational business outcomes — like profitability.
The report, based on the results of the Employee Experience Index, studied more than 22,000 workers in 45 countries. It focused on their experiences and how those experiences correlate with two of the most commonly used measures of profitability: return on assets (ROA) and return on sales (ROS).
The research found that organizations that score in the top 25 percent on employee experience report nearly three times the return on assets compared to organizations in the bottom quartile, and organizations that score in the top 25 percent on employee experience report double the return on sales compared to organizations in the bottom quartile.
"Senior leadership and managers play crucial roles in creating [opportunities] and ultimately ensuring a positive and supportive work environment; however... there is some room for improvement," the researchers reported, noting that a majority (71 percent) of HR practitioners think that senior leadership could be doing more to improve employees’ experiences at work. "A growing body of research now points to the benefits of a human workplace for creating positive employee experiences."
According to research from IBM and Globoforce, a human workplace is primarily characterized by these six opportunities: meaningful work; empowerment and voice; feedback, recognition and growth; coworker relationships; organizational trust; and work-life balance. Let's expound upon these six workplace practices, so your workplace can implement them, too.
1. Meaningful Work
When employees find their work meaningful, they're more compelled to do it well. And when they perform well, the company itself can profit more. But how does a company make work more meaningful?
"When senior leadership ensures that employees feel appreciated and valued for their performance, work can become more meaningful, particularly where recognition is aligned to core values," according to the researchers.
2. Empowerment and Voice
Employees need to feel empowered and heard in order to perform optimally. And there are ways to make them feel this way.
"When employees have the opportunity to recharge and work more flexibly, they can be empowered to work and connect in ways that best suit them," the report suggests.
3. Feedback, Recognition and Growth
Of course, constructive feedback that recognizes and affirms employees' hard work and also helps to propel them forward is key. It also improves the overall employee experience. That said, the research suggests that less than half (49 percent) of HR practitioners say there is sufficient recognition of the good work that employees do.
4. Coworker Relationships
It's no secret that having strong relationships with coworkers can improve an employee's experience. Coworkers can serve as more than just supportive and helpful team members, but also as advocates and allies. When coworkers work well together, push each other and support each other, they ultimately push the company forward, too.
5. Organizational Trust
Trust is critical in any type of relationship — a working one or otherwise. A team of colleagues who trust each other, trust the system and trust in the company's core values and future, is a team of colleagues that's going to perform well. As the research suggests, when employees have positive experiences and perform well as a result, the company itself performs well.
6. Work-Life Balance
The HR practitioners surveyed said there is still room for improvement when it comes to work-life balance, and workplaces should allow more opportunities for improved work-life balance. The study shows that less than a quarter (22 percent) of HR practitioners say their organizations do enough to provide balance.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel-the-world">travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog">blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report,