The following is a guest post, contributed by Keith
So much in today’s world needs to be justified with numbers showing us that there is a quantifiable value for every decision. When a company spends money, more often than not they want to know how spending that money will make them more money. This is the concept of return on investment (ROI). How to spend $1 and make $2 as a result. (OK, finance lesson over with).
But not everything is easily quantifiable, or measurable. How to measure employee satisfaction or my personal favourite “engagement” with verifiable, hard numbers? These are by nature qualitative measures.
With a new generation of employees moving into the workplace, the so-called Millennials (Gen Y), that values a balance between work and their personal life, companies are having to adjust. In areas where younger workers are the norm, or at least make up a significant percentage of the population steps are being taken to introduce an atmosphere targeted at attracting and retaining talent. By providing games tables, comfortable seating or in some cases refreshments to employees as a “perk” of the job, some companies are aiming to make work a more fun and balanced place to be.
But if you’re wanting to get some leather recliners or a foosball table into the office, how do you justify the benefits of this to the powers that be? Where are your numbers? There is precious little in the way of hard facts to “prove” the beneficial nature of these perks. There is, however, mounds of anecdotal evidence to show that happy and relaxed employees are more productive and more creative during the hours that they are performing their duties.
This is one of the intangibles that make up a balanced work culture and lead to a more relaxed and creative workforce. By providing a “chill-out space” something with comfortable seating and (god forbid) maybe a television, your hard-working employees have a place to recharge their batteries mid-day and continue to deliver for the company until late in the afternoon.
I’m not saying that companies should employ masseuses, or servers to cater to employees while they’re on the job (as alleged by 60 minutes), but provide some benefits that help to enhance the experience of going to work. Why does work need to be dull and boring? Invest some money. If even one employee stays instead of leaving for another company, it will be worth your time. The return on your investment comes in the form of not wasting productive hours training yet another new employee (probably another millennial).
So in an effort to collect some more of those anecdotal stories, and maybe even some hard numbers, tell us about your workplace. Do you have a “chill-out space” to use? Does it help? Is it something you would look for in a prospective employer?