More organizations are looking at their employee’s workplace experience and asking how they can do better. The ability to attract the best and the brightest is becoming even more challenging as the economy grows and the labor market shrinks. Now is the time for companies to look beyond the traditional benefits strategy and ask what people really want today to be successful in both their professional and their personal lives.

I have spent these past few weeks asking the “employee on the street” what they are most grateful for when it comes to their organization’s work experience and this is what I heard:

  1. “My company trusts me to get my work done in a way that allows me to take care of my personal responsibilities, even when they happen during the weekday. This means I don’t have to come up with notes or explanations, we all just work together to reach our goals.” Account Manager
  2. “Frankly, I am loving our recent travel ban. No more rushing to the airport, missing flights, getting caught in crush of life on the road. I am now connecting with my clients and my team virtually and it’s working! It hasn’t been a perfect transition, but as I try new tools to connect with people we are all learning some new skills and liking this new way of collaborating.” District Sales Manager
  3. “My company just increased our parental leave program to 4 months of paid time off. This is going to be amazing to have this time to focus on family and not worry about returning to work after 6 weeks. We also now have the option to return gradually, no more home one day and gone all day the next and the next and the next.” Business Analyst
  4. “We have an amazing wellness program that helps employees reach their personal health and fitness goals. Since I spend most of my waking hours at work it’s nice to be in an environment that makes it possible to be active and healthy.” Administrative Assistant
  5. “We can chose between two sabbatical programs: an unpaid one-month sabbatical that can be taken for any reason, and a three- to six-month sabbatical that can be taken to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities with 40% pay. It so nice to be able to step away from your work for a short time and know that you can come back and be supported.” Senior Consultant

The one theme that I took away from these discussions was that TIME is a commodity and customization is the key. Today it seems that most of us suffer from a time famine. Here are some reminders about the importance of time (author unknown):

  • To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
  • To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
  • To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
  • To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
  • To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed a train.
  • To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask someone who just avoided an accident.
  • To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal at the Olympics.

If your organization is interested in thinking outside the traditional benefits strategy and is interested in providing a customizable workplace experience, an inexpensive and effective solution is workplace flexibility that is delivered as a business strategy. We live in a world where much of our life is customizable, from the entertainment we watch to the music we listen to, to the way we purchase goods and services. Now is the time to explore what your company can do to implement this sought after workplace solution that will provide a customized work experience to your most important asset, your workforce.

Visit our Knowledge Center Resources for SMART Organizations and see if your organization is ready to build a new experience.