What is a Workplace Experience & Why You Should Care

Anna Straus, CEO at Sparck October 31, 2023

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of the traditional workplace has transformed. The average employee might not have to go into their office every day of the week – or, in many cases, have permanently exchanged the boardroom for their living room, taking meetings over Zooms (sometimes with a pet sitting on their lap!). 

In fact, the number of remote workers increased to 17.9% of all employees (27.6 million people) nationwide. In other words, the modern workplace is a different world – and one that’s here to stay.

This change in the modern workplace has fostered a world in which employees have higher expectations of their work experience and environments, whether it’s remote, hybrid, or in-person.

Intelligent leaders recognize the value of measuring the workplace experience and how it can translate to happier employees. That satisfaction comes through a blend of workplace experience, growth opportunities, and recognition from managers.

The research backs it up! A recent Forbes article stated that when employees believe management will recognize them, they are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged. And Employees who receive great recognition are 20 times as likely to be engaged as employees who receive poor recognition.

Further, companies must ensure they take appropriate steps to recognize their employees and their expectations, or they run the risk of employee turnover. In fact, Gallup research shows that nearly 60% of employees in the United States say having a job that allows them to do what they do best is “very important” when considering whether or not to take a new job.

So how do companies take the right steps to create a quality workplace experience, recognize their employees and their expectations, and still hit business goals?

The answer comes down to understanding the modern workplace and workplace experience. Let’s dig in.

Defining the Modern Workplace: A Blend of Remote, Hybrid, and In-Persons Offices

The modern workplace isn't what it used to be! Gone are the days of an office building with cubicles and fluorescent lights and a coffee pot that barely works. Ping pong, bean bag chairs, and casual Fridays are no longer what workers want or need.

In today’s new normal, having an experience employees enjoy – that supports their wants and needs – is no longer optional. Priorities are less about the physical environment and focused more on the workplace experience, which includes every facet of an employee's journey. It includes onboarding, the physical environment, digital tools, culture, opportunities, and overall atmosphere that employees encounter daily. It’s the sum total of how employees feel about their work life. 

Think about it another way. Employees can be viewed as “consumers” of the workplace experience you provide. Are they happy, satisfied, and fulfilled? If not, they’re less likely to be engaged, leading to decreased performance or, even worse, leaving your company for a job elsewhere. And any HR leader knows just how much that turnover costs – US businesses experience $1 trillion in annual costs due to it!

Even if you think your company is fostering a quality workplace experience, it’s worth evaluating. What employers think their employees want is often disconnected unless they have surveyed their teams. Assumptions have proven to not support what survey results provide in data! In fact, Gallup research suggests employee engagement has continually decreased on the whole since 2021, but has increased for organizations that focus on culture and wellbeing.

In other words, a healthy and positive workplace experience pays off.

For a holistic look at workplace expectations and how they’ve transformed for employees, download your free copy of Sparck Lab’s 2023 Workplace Report!

Workplace Experience vs. Employee Wellness

Employee wellness focuses on the health and well-being of employees while workplace experience takes a broader approach. It encompasses well-being but also delves into the emotional and psychological aspects of work.

Understanding the difference between workplace experience and employee wellness is vital for managing the overall environment of your company. According to Gallup, 44% of global employees express experiencing stress – the second year in a row worker stress reached record levels for obvious reasons. Providing a quality workplace experience is how you can mitigate this trend as we emerge from the pandemic.

Graph: Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday?

via Gallup 

But you may be asking – why should I care? And why should I invest limited our financial resources into improving the workplace experience?

Why Should Leaders Care About Their Employees’ Workplace Experience?

Whether you want to admit it or not, the workplace experience of your employees is extremely important! Unfortunately, many employees these days aren’t having a positive experience. Research suggests nearly 1 in 2 employees in America are currently job hunting.

On the surface, that statistic might not seem like a big deal. People switch jobs. Just find new employees, right?

Well, not only does that way of thinking not consider the human element of work, it’s also a costly thought process. When an employee leaves a company, it costs one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary! And, it’s not only the cost but the damaging relationships with customers and employees alike that have to be rebuilt. Therefore there is a loss in hours and transitions.

Increase Happiness and Increase Productivity

Research suggests that work is one of the primary places where individuals find meaning and happiness in their lives. That means that companies who value fostering a positive workplace experience are more likely to have happier employees who are more engaged. Happy employees take more pride in their work, leading to increased productivity and innovation – it’s a no brainer!

Improve Employee Retention Rates

In a reality where half of employees are watching or searching for new jobs, organizations need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to keep employees satisfied. A positive workplace experience is difficult to find, and so when you focus on prioritizing one, you can create a magnetic work environment where employees want to stay.

Boost Your Company’s Reputation

People talk, and you only get one reputation. Smart business leaders understand that a company’s reputation goes beyond products or services. It includes your reputation as an employer! 

Download our Free Employee Appreciation Toolkit to help uncover how your employees feel appreciated in less than 60 seconds…

Positive employee experiences translate not only into positive reviews and a better public image, but can potentially draw talent to your organization.

Attract High-Quality Employees

Your ability to draw in the best and brightest can be the difference maker in both the short and long term success of your organization. An excellent workplace experience reputation presents an attractive proposition for top-tier talent. 

Plus, people who want to work for you are much more likely to be successful at their jobs!

Are You Ready to Foster a Modern, People-First Workplace Experience?

The workplace experience is the heart of a thriving organization. It might just feel like a post-COVID trend, but the statistics suggest otherwise. These days, employees hold their employers to a different standard – and leaders recognize this value.

By caring about your employees’ workplace experience and what they expect in their day-to-day, you’ll not only boost happiness and productivity, but help secure your position as a top employer in your industry.

Not to mention that business is sometimes bigger than business! Organizations that focus on creating a positive workplace experience are helping lead towards a better future of work for the entire world.

It’s time to listen to your employees, and look towards the future.

If you’re interested in what your next steps are, uncover key employee insights with Sparck’s #BeHeard report.   


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