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AGAR - Culture

Macro Trends Influencing the Workplace

Our evolving culture is continually redefining the physical and experiential perceptions and realities of “place”. The convergence of retail, hospitality, and workplace married with consumer expectations around convenience, flexibility, and service are creating new dimensions in space and place. Technology enables our lives: work, play, and shop to be anywhere, anytime. This confluence in our day-to-day lives also impacts our cultural and professional expectations in the workplace. We “carry over” our daily rituals across sectors and look for similar experiences in our workplace.

These daily rituals may manifest in employee expectations around attraction and retention, benefits, services, and convenience offerings in the workplace. Brands need to be aware of these shifts and create purpose-led corporate cultural initiatives that foster growth, diversity, and innovation. We’re sharing six macro trends in which we can draw parallels as to the “what” and “why” behind evolving employee expectations and what’s redefining the future workplace.

Segment of  “One”

Hyperpersonalization is at the forefront of consumer expectations. No longer seen as only an indulgence for a few, but rather an expected experience scaled for all. Personalized experiences ultimately earn brand loyalty, reduce attrition, and increase lifetime value. Looking closely at each person is also seen as a win-win for brands and businesses alike, as personalization strategies can offer real-time optimization and test and learn models for future growth.Hyperpersonalization is a critical aspect of our daily lives recognizing one’s individuality, strengths, and personal value. A shift away from the “one-size-fits-all approach of the past to curated workplace solutions enabling collective success for the individual and the company.

Experience Opportunities in the Workplace:

  • – Personalized onboarding strategies: tailoring to the individual needs of each new hire with real-time tactics: customizing recruiting, promoting experience-driven onboarding, and offering choice in benefits to meet diverse needs
  • – Consider educational tools and processes that develop individual and collective interests mutually to foster innovation (AI Technology platforms, personalized review processes, etc.)
  • – Leverage an individual’s capabilities
  • – Offer flexibility in the workplace, supporting different work styles and preferences in the overall environment whether in the office, at home, or on the go (flexible environments, varied types of work style experiences, consider daypart)
Instant Gratification

As a result of the pandemic, consumer expectations around gratification have been amplified. With a springboard originally rooted in accelerated delivery technologies, we now can (and expect) to have anything on our doorstep within hours. However, instant gratification is now rolling over into our day-to-day preferences and consumers are looking to other models to transform experiences beyond convenience into everyday gratifying moments.

Everyone is seeking “success” in their daily lives. The metrics of those “successes” can come in big and small wins and employers need to integrate various scaled opportunities for recognition and/or appreciation.

Experience Opportunities in the Workplace:

  • – Clarify what productivity looks like, leverage technology to help celebrate milestones in the work (week/month/year)
  • – Implement achievable performance-based merit goals, remember small gestures can go a long way (personally written thank-you, small denomination gift card, unplanned day off, etc.)
  • – Don’t lose sight of milestone review periods
  • – Celebrate “big wins” in the moment (pop-up party, happy hour, etc.)
  • – Consider employee “convenience benefits plans” (ala errand runners) to remove stress and barriers
  • – In parallel with the trend of “in constant motion”, consider the overall workplace setting (ala doggy daycare, dry-cleaning) and how building amenities can bolster productivity by “completing routines” and in turn creating “instant wins”
Modern Wellness

Today’s consumer looks to modern wellness in a whole new light. More than fad diets and routine doctor’s visits, it’s the convergence of all aspects of holistic health, with regimens rooted in virtual, in-person, and everyday personal wellness routines. Modern technologies combined with physical experiences are offering 24/7 access to on-the-go user flexibility with the added benefit of personal coaching support services.

Personal health and well-being are at the forefront of every employee and employer and the good news is there are many platforms and processes employers can invoke to support their associates wherever and whenever they may need them most.

Experience Opportunities in the Workplace:

  • – Remove barriers of stress, offer spontaneous moments of surprise and delight
  • – Redefine the work day by infusing fitness and wellness routines within flexible work schedules, allowing for moments of mental and physical breaks
  • – Rethink a holistic benefits package, consider “bringing wellness to the office” via mobile dental and wellness checks, life coaching, motivational speaking, and financial discounts with brand partners
  • – Offer sabbaticals and secondments allowing people to explore different areas of passion
  • – Instill “transition” programs for employees seeking the next phase of their career (ala retirement or career shift), ensuring mental preparedness for future endeavors
In (Constant) Motion

If post-Covid behaviors have taught us anything, it is that mobility is a must. Except for a few, a “stay in place” mentality is not the future. People are seeking opportunities to live their lives a bit more nomadically. Work from anywhere, shop from anywhere, explore today for we do not know what tomorrow may bring. This new intersection of space and place is in motion and people are seeking flexibility and on-the-go services at work and home to make life easier. Consumers are seeking amenities that enable efficiency and reassurance in their everyday lives. From hybrid work schedules to single parenting, platforms enabling effectiveness are providing solutions for our on-the-go routines.

Today’s workforce is on the move, whether it be in their day-to-day work routines with flex workspaces, hybrid schedules, and the crossover of their personal lives seeking that ever-desired “work-life balance”, mobility, and flexibility are key. Companies need to explore tactics supportive of flexible employee journeys to garner loyalty, increase engagement, and boost employee productivity.

Experience Opportunities in the Workplace:

  • – Promote workplace environments that support various work style preferences (communal areas, hoteling, collab spaces, quiet zones) as well as environments that support various lifestyles (building and office amenities such as laundry services, daycare, dinner meals-to-go, etc.) with services that matter.
  • – Consider programs that support remote work in inspiring settings promoting mental health
  • – Offer best-in-class communication tools and streamline the number of touchpoints for communication among teammates.
In The Next Realm

The consumer landscape is entering a new frontier, where experiences will take on a new dimension. Virtual products, places, and brand engagements will have limitless possibilities. The real opportunity for brands lies in the synergy of virtual and physical worlds to appeal to future generations while creating authentic moments reflective of the brand’s true purpose.

COVID ignited our ability within the workplace to be productive virtually, however, it is just the beginning. Future models indicate ever-increasing platforms that will transcend the 3D world as we know it and employers need to be prepared to create a safe, stimulating, productive, and profitable workplace of the future.

Experience Opportunities in the Workplace:

  • – Identify and leverage how 3D and virtual platforms can be implemented to support the lifecycle of an employee (i.e.: job candidate experience, recruiting, onboarding, benefits & training)
  • – Learning information or a new task is better remembered when it is entertaining too, leverage technology to stimulate imagination and create an ongoing connection
  • – Curate employee journeys across platforms for seamless experiences: Memory & multi-tasking, focus and problem-solving skills, decision-making tools, perception and visionary moments, interactive and social skills, curiosity and learning-based platforms, overall brand tone of voice, experience, and mood
  • – Consider how a virtual “campus” can bridge the gap for a hybrid workforce
Brand DNA

In today’s ever more polarizing world, the recognition of each “month’s cause” continues to push brands to engage with consumers across various fronts. But today these “monthly causes“ can quickly feel like “bandwagon campaigns” with quick brand handle changes on social media and “snapshot“ products showing “support”. Brands with true empathy however, pull from their DNA, where the cause is rooted in everything they do, everything they believe in, and led with true love and acceptance of the greater good.

Experience Opportunities in the Workplace:

  • – Starts with your brand’s mission, purpose, and value. Ensure your brand DNA resonates with authenticity, led by example in leadership and throughout the organization, and fosters a continual positive culture within (marketing, website, social (external and internal), ongoing training
  • – Evaluate all touchpoints within the employee journey and lifecycle to ensure your brand DNA is clear and communicates your support for the individual and the organization as a whole
  • – Lead with empathy, offer continual training and supportive practices to have “uncomfortable conversations” (team building exercises, one-on-ones, communicating “safe” policies)
  • – Implement external and/or internal initiatives demonstrating “brand love” and supportive causes that matter to your brand and your employees

There has been a dynamic shift post-COVID in daily routines across our lives, employers need to consider not only the employee journey when creating a best-in-class work experience but also the added overlay of an employee’s daily schedule as the lines are blurred in our definition of the new 9-to-5. Mobility and flexibility rise above all. Organizations need to be agile as the future still holds a lot of unknowns in transitioning workplace practices. Those that can pivot easily will be the most successful.