By Tim Oldman
First published in W&P Journal Issue 2 – February 2013 Pages 30-31
Tags: productivity • performance • research • data
Now with over 21,000 individual responses, the Leesman workplace satisfaction survey has lots of data1. The expectation is that this data will start to reveal some hidden treasures; perhaps letting us ‘decode’ the complexity of what exactly makes a high performance workplace.
The first step toward that decoding is in partnership with an established academic institute. With 21,000 respondents, each provides around 60-80 lines of personal response. Mining those 1.5 million variable lines for patterns and learning requires considerable cross analysis. So we are partnering with the Department of the Built Environment Urban Science and Systems at the University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands in our first research project.
With this volume of data, now increasingly gathered across international portfolios, we will start to draw an ever clearer picture of the relationship between people and place. We will analyse the extent to which place really influences and impacts the behaviours and productive outputs of people.
But, do employers understand, or care enough, about the environments they are building around their teams? Would our evidence-based argumentation really change anything? Does research offer a meaningful impression for the future of workplace? If more data gives more robust research, would that, in the hands of those who are interested, shift our intuitive gut-based advocating and enable clear and categorical proof to be taken to the executive boards ultimately responsible for both the people and the place?
In all likelihood, the intermediate challenge is finding the key advocates. Who within organisations wants to own and maintain that knowledge? Because, it is going to be thorny. Whilst this new data gives us a clearer view than we have ever had available before, it also shows that the mix of the factors that are impacting on employee performance is highly variable, from client to client. The data does establish a standard hierarchy of need – though it is important to say that this hierarchy is by volume, not by importance. This can be read as a sort of ‘DNA blueprint’ of what is going on inside the organisation; an imprint of what is important, and what is not. But that core aggregate picture is important in establishing not where we are all the same, but as with DNA and more importantly, where there is difference. Arriving at a profile of “average” makes it far easier to establish a profile of difference. Where those differences are recognised and supported, a high performance workplace is considerably easier to achieve.
So, who wants to get hold of that ‘balance dial’ and start to tune each channel into the frequency of that organisation? Do we need an intellectual tussle between heads of property, finance, technology, facilities and human resources? Surely, if corporate performance can be more closely tracked to the effectiveness of the corporate place, that relationship needs a specific champion, not simply left to fall into the chasms between? W&P
For those interested in how deep that data evaluation and analysis could go, Leesman will be launching its QX Report in April this year. The QX Report is an annual deep dive into the data amassed over the prior fiscal year and will offer insights line by line through each area of enquiry. The annual report will then be digitally updated each quarter thereafter to provide reflections on the developing workplace landscape. W&P
Tim Oldman is the founder and managing director of Leesman, whose database is Europe’s fastest growing resource of consistent and publicly-reported workplace effectiveness performance data.&lt;br /&gt;
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1 Oldman, T. Listen Up. 10,000 plus people have told you what they think of their current workplace. Work&Place, Issue 1, August 2012.