Here’s the biggest idea most CEOs haven’t yet heard: how your employees feel about your company’s city can impact their workplace performance.
According to the Knight Soul of the Community project that surveyed nearly 43,000 people in 26 U.S. cities over three years, for which I was the lead consultant, there is a clear positive correlation between employee job satisfaction and their love for their city. This means that the lines between workplace and the larger place are inextricably blurred.
It also means that you can offer your employees the most fulfilling and wonderful work experience and environment to keep them engaged and productive, but if they don’t like the city they are in, you are still in serious trouble. Not only in their satisfaction and productivity, but also in their retention. And the younger they are, the more this is true!
It’s a transformative reality for workplaces in a changing world.
So how do you integrate this information into your existing operational strategies?
- Be aware of it. I bet you may have already observed it! Employees giving place reasons and not workplace ones in exit interviews. Employees talking much more about place as part of their acceptance (or denial) of jobs offered. The research backs up your existing observations, so take it seriously and be aware it is a real factor.
- Update business practice models. Monitor and care about your employees’ feelings about their place as much as you do about their sentiments toward the workplace. Integrate these metrics into your existing protocols that monitor and focus on employee engagement.
- Focus on place too. It’s affecting your bottom line and if you didn’t suspect it before, you know now. So, commit to investing in your place and its quality of life as part of your corporate philanthropy strategy. You will help optimize your place, but you will also help your company too.
- Facilitate the match between employees and place. The walking lunch is not only popular for its health element. It also gets employees out to enjoy the place on the regular. Make your place the backdrop to your meetings and encourage your employees to talk a short stroll to reduce stress and restore enthusiasm. Structure your social company events to showcase unique offerings in your place. Don’t do the usual. Look for the unique opportunities in your place and showcase them to your employees. They’re likely to fall in love with the place as a result as well.
- Keep this reality in mind as your company moves forward. In addition to helping your place sell itself to recruit and retain the best employees, keep this in mind if your company looks to expand: choose places that sell themselves. And by the way, not everybody is looking for a big city experience; so don’t dismiss the small to medium-sized place gems as well.
Written by: Dr. Katherine Loflin.