Christmas time is here! Families are looking forward to Christmas traditions, and many workplaces are also celebrating with yearly holiday parties, gift exchanges and even office Christmas trees.
But amidst all the ritual festivities, you might consider implementing one more holiday activity before year-end. Samantha Julka, founder of Indianapolis-based DORIS Research—which uses design thinking to organize workspaces—suggest employees be prompted to write their own wish lists. Not for personal gifts, but for workplace amenities.
The purpose is two-fold. The first is to hear feedback from real employees and gain insight on what could improve their work lives. Some of the most commonly desired workplace amenities include fitness options, free food, unlimited coffee, bring-your-dog-to-work days and special company events.
But every business is different, and simply asking employees what would improve their work conditions can go a long way. Not only will this provide you with new ideas, but implementing wish lists also shows employees you’re listening and you care, regardless if their wishes can actually be granted.
The other purpose is research. Julka has found you can learn a lot about the health of an organization simply by asking the question,
“If you could change one thing about your current office space, what would it be, and why?”
Throughout her years of asking, Julka has heard some pretty crazy answers—including cotton candy machines and rooftop pools. But she’s also reported drastically more practical answers, such as simple Wi-Fi access and yearly carpet cleanings.
Julka suggests that the more fanciful the request, the more satisfied the employee is with the workplace and how his or her needs are being met. For example, the employee wishing for the rooftop pool is likely pretty happy with his workplace, so his mind is freed up to dream big. For the employee asking for a clean floor, a rooftop pool is unthinkable.
Ultimately Julka concludes, “If the talent pool has a lot of options, and the workplace isn’t particularly comfortable or doesn’t offer a lot of amenities, people have to be attracted by the integrity or prestige of the work. If the work itself isn’t viewed as prestigious and the competition for talent is high, a workplace that offers more amenities could be the deciding factor.”
So what does this mean for you? Ultimately compelling work is what you’d like to drive your employees. But research shows that the amenities are on the rise for what’s keeping people around.
Consider asking the question and see what responses you get! Include it as a fun element of your traditional office Christmas party. If people request on-site personal trainers and smoothie bars, it’s likely your baseline office space is comfortable and your employees are satisfied. If people request more basic things, it might be a red flag that your office space and culture are falling behind.
We want your employees to be excited about both the integrity of their work and their workplace perks. However, we know that managing employee wish lists, on top of your regular to-do lists, puts a lot on your plate.
Servant HR prioritizes you so that you can prioritize your people and your business. Feeling overwhelmed by the mountain of HR work that can accompany end-of-year? We’re here to help. Contact us today to see how our PEO model can free you up to focus on what matters most for your business—this holiday season and year-round.