Workplace personalization fits with many modern trends. We are all used to video services suggesting movies that match what we’ve seen previously. Also, our phones announce calls with our favorite ringtones. The same touch can be applied to where we work – but with real benefits for morale, engagement, and productivity.
A Home Away from Home
Organizations interested in engagement and productivity have tried various means to change the physical settings in which we work. AirBnB is famous for offices modeled on real-life rental spots and local architecture. On the other hand, Facebook has roller skating rinks and free to use hip-hop turntables. These features are more than just the result of cash-rich organizations that are trying to be different.
In the case of Google, for instance, the idea is to make the office more like home, so that workers don’t see a reason to leave the office. That’s why Google employees enjoy free food, massages, playground slides, and bean bags.
For this reason, enabling a personalized workplace based on individual preferences is the most logical course to take. If the goal is to build a home-like environment, then it makes sense to simply allow employees to introduce personal items to the workplace.
In a study of open office plans, the Harvard Business Review noticed something called “place identity”. This is how people identify with the place where they work. When employees were given a chance to personalize their office, they felt like “it’s our place … there’s a sense of my stuff.” When workers feel at home, Harvard reports that they:
- Are more engaged and enthusiastic
- Have quality communications with coworkers and managers
- Feel greater attachment to the organization
Workplace Personalization – More than just Family Pictures
The common idea of workplace personalization is the addition of drawings, family pictures, plants, figurines, and other items. But making the office feel like a true home – where people care about each other, and feel relaxed – can go far beyond knick knacks.
The human resources department can contribute numerous, relatively minor personalization touches that add up to a greater sense of belonging. For instance:
- Internal recruiting efforts based on research of employee resumes and matched to relevant job openings
- An onboarding process that includes personalized material and equipment, an onboarding “buddy” who provides support and advice, and courses that are modified to the skill level of the new employee
- Personalized rewards and recognition for outstanding performance
- HR reports that are adjusted to employee preferences. For example, a performance management report that gives numerical or qualitative assessments, depending on what the employee finds the most informative
Another area of personalization, accessibility, is often thought of as being applicable only to handicapped people. Providing facilities and equipment that are suitable for disabled employees makes good business sense. Particularly for those with invisible handicaps, adapting the workplace to make life easier is the right thing to do, and usually costs little. Furthermore, not only is it a legal requirement, but it also enhances morale, hiring practices, and efficiency.
Yet another benefit of accessibility is that it has a “run-off” effect. The voice controlled computers that you buy for people with limb impairments will also be used by employees who don’t know how to type. The standing desks purchased for those with back problems will also be great for workers who just want to stretch for a bit. In all, accessible workplaces are more comfortable for every employee.
What do work from home, remote work, and flex time have in common? Yes, they are all types of workplace flexibility, but they also permit employees to adjust their schedule and office “face time” to their personal needs. As with other personalization solutions, flexibility programs improve morale and the feeling of connectivity to the organization. But they also have the added benefit of reducing some kinds of stress while increasing the number of weekly working hours.
Learning and Development
Speaking of added benefits, the personalization of professional learning can have impressive positive effects on both employees and organizations. But how does this relate to the physical place of work? A high end learning and development platform gives employees the choice of where they want training to occur. As long as preferences fit with organizational requirements, L&D technology lets employees take courses at home, in a workplace area reserved for training, or even by smartphone.
Personalization vs. Experience
There might be some confusion about where workplace personalization fits into the concept of employee experience. For instance, onboarding is an area where personalization is possible, but it’s also an important part of the employee experience.
Simply put, it makes sense that where you work is part of the total job environment. So the best way to explain this relationship is that personalization is included in the employee experience.
Personalization is the Name of the Game for GrowthSpace
GrowthSpace didn’t invent the idea of personalization, just perfected it for L&D programs. GrowthSpace delivers an easy to use platform that allows HR to find exactly the courses – and locations – for employees to grow. Through their market-leading technology, GrowthSpace enables what might be the most valuable personalization opportunity of all – the chance to build a great career through customized courses.