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  • Writer's pictureDavid George

Engagement in Workplace Design: Reality Vs Misconception.

Updated: Apr 21

Dashboard showing data from Employee Engagement
Example page from WEX Online Dashboard

Engaging employees in workplace projects is not as hard as it seems.

Here are some of the common misconceptions:

1. Excuse: It creates unattainable expectations.

“If I engage them, they’ll expect something I can’t give them”

“People will be frustrated if their suggestion isn’t selected”

👉🏽 Engagement Reality - The themes discussed should align with the scope and desired outcomes of the project. This is not a free for all or a time to make selections.

2. Excuse: Surface level input is sufficient.

“I’ll wait and engage employees in picking finishes and selecting task chairs”

“If we can’t really cater to their needs, what’s the point of asking for additional input”

👉🏽 Engagement Reality - Employees are likely to be negative about surface level input when their core needs have not been met or asked for.

3. Excuse: Too many individual needs will surface.

“There are too many opinions, I can’t accommodate every voice we’d have a million different projects”

“I don’t want to open a can of worms!”

👉🏽 Engagement Reality - Input from employee engagement is sorted into trends and themes uncovering deeper needs and information that will benefit the organization and employees. Employees value being able to share meaningful information productively in a structured environment.

4. Excuse: The project will be slowed down or blocked.

“Engaging employees will slow down the process- needing to find time to meet and get approval from everyone”

“I know what their feedback will be, and it’s crazy, it doesn’t feel worth my time”

👉🏽 Engagement Reality - Engagement processes can be run quickly at scale in an organization. The goal is not approval but to be informed. The process should make decisions easier, more effective, and reduce buy-in delays.

5. Excuse: The project should be well defined before employees are engaged.

“I’m just getting the project underway- I’m not ready to engage anyone”

"The project is two years' out"

👉🏽 Engagement Reality - Information from employees through structured early engagement is critical to defining a project. Engaging too late creates some of the challenges stated in the myths above.

💡Let’s be clear, engagement is not a free for all.

✅ Connecting with your employees in preparation for workplace projects should be focused and structured to align with the desired outcomes.

✅ Communicating and learning from your employees has the power to help your company be a place that people want to be- a place you want to be.

🚫 Stop guessing by just using data like badge swipes and Wi-Fi usage.

✅ Start really engaging with your employees to understand their role, activities and interactions at a granular level, and listen to what they have to say about preferences. 

✅ Multi-channel engagement is critical, giving you evidential data for decision making.

Key benefits of engagement?

A workplace that really enables what your employees need to do, buy-in to final solutions and if you do it right you can expect to see up to a 17% improvement in productivity.

Want a quick and painless way of doing that? Ask about our Workplace Experience Platform and Workplace Strategy process.


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