Eight Critical Culture Factors of the Human Experience

As organizations continue evolving, reaching new levels of sophistication in the pursuit of ‘optimized’ or ‘collaborative’ workplaces, they’re discovering that optimization and collaboration aren’t strictly a function of architecture; shared spaces don’t inherently make employees more productive or collaborative.

Certainly, designing collaborative spaces is vital, but it’s not a magic bullet. Collaboration for its own sake isn’t enough. Organizations must focus as much or more on mitigating factors, like who is collaborating with whom, when are they collaborating and what outcomes are those collaborations going to produce - perhaps quantifiable outcomes, like quicker product delivery or sales cycles or qualitative improvements in the employee experience.

Those outcomes require sometimes-fundamental shifts in culture, changes to business and operational processes and the development of an environment that fosters happy, engaged and productive employees. In short, organizations must focus as much on the holistic workplace - The Human Experience - as they do the physical workspace.
The Human Experience is about creating a culture that exists both inside and outside the architecture or place inhabited by the organization.  It focuses on providing an environment that motivates employees, makes them want to come to work, increases productive time vs. idle time and promotes a cohesive workforce who understand how their role impacts the future of the organization and contributes to their happiness and job satisfaction. This pursuit of employee happiness may seem a bit esoteric, but it’s actually very pragmatic in today’s competitive employment market, which places a premium on attracting and retaining top talent.
An individual working a typical 8-5 business day spends 35 percent of his or her life in a corporate office setting, a setting that encompasses everything from the practical (the personal and office technology they interact with on a daily basis) to the aspirational (their prospects for growth and professional development) to the mundane (the quality of the snacks available in the employee break room). What we’ve always understood as the workplace now extends far beyond the context of physical space and beyond the sole purview of the real estate and facilities teams – it’s a whole-office engagement, from IT to Operations and HR. 
The Human Experience Culture process evaluates workplace characteristics, technology and culture based on eight critical factors:

  1. Diversity and Inclusion: demographic diversity as well as diversity in skills and aspirations of individuals that contribute to the culture’s identity
  2. Sustainability and Longevity: the self-sufficiency and sustainability of a culture’s operations
  3. Employee Health & Wellness: The level of cultural support and development with an organization in terms of physical, psychological, emotional, and social health.
  4. Social Cohesion:  the various degrees to which a culture inhabits a place both as seen through the experiences of the individual or the whole company.
  5. Decision Making: the processes and influences that drive a culture’s decision-making process, i.e. how it uses data, the input of the individual voice vs the collective, the influence research and/or external factors contribute, etc…
  6. Risk and Change: how a culture views, handles and allows or restricts certain practices relative to risk and change
  7. Management Practices: how an organization’s management approach is reflected in the culture
  8. Technology Adeptness: how proficient and adaptable is a culture’s approach to technology
It's very inclusive and transparent, this Human Experience process, representing a true paradigm shift in how organizations approach workplace strategy. It’s equal parts sociology, psychology, organizational behavior and architecture – the intersection of workstyle and lifestyle - requiring a high-level understanding of, and a high degree of sensitivity toward the workforce, knowing what is and what isn’t working for them.
Steven Covey, renowned motivational speaker and best-selling author, said, ‘Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.’  The Human Experience is the process through which that ideal can become reality by enabling organizations to tailor workplace environments that make employees want to come to work, be active participants, and perform at an optimal level.
Evelyn Lee
Regional Workplace Manager
Workplace Strategy and Human Experience
Global Strategy

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