Could the secret to boosting your human capital—the economic value of your employees' skill sets—be as easy as rearranging a few chairs?
According to a new report from Cornerstone and Harvard Business School, the answer is yes. The report, which analyzed data on more than 2,000 employees over a two-year period, found that placing the right type of workers in close proximity to each other generated up to a 15 percent increase in organizational performance.
The results have big implications for small businesses, as traditionally effective approaches to increasing human capital (selective hiring, training, leadership development and benefits) can come at a significant cost. A Bersin by Deloitte report found that in 2013, businesses across the United States spent an average of $1,169 per learner, and tech companies spent an average of $1,847.
Below are three things you should know about "spatial management"—how to best physically place workers within an organization—before trying it for yourself.
Pair People With Opposite Strengths
According to the report there are three types of workers: 1) Productive, 2) Generalist and 3) Quality. The study found that the best pairings are symbiotic relationships between employees who fall in different categories; for example, a productive person's time management skills will "spillover" to help a quality worker improve turnaround time.
To define which category your employees match, explore questions such as: How long does it take the employee to complete a task? Productive workers complete tasks quickly but lack in quality. How satisfied is the recipient of the completed task? Quality workers produce superior quality but lack in speed. Is the employee both relatively productive and focused on quality? Generalists are average across both dimensions.
"We don’t traditionally think of physical office space as something influenced by big data," says Michael Housman, workforce scientist in residence for HiQ Labs, "But this study shows that simple, spatial decisions—like where someone sits—can actually be strategic and data-driven."
Spillover Works Both Ways
Seating certain people near each other can have a positive impact on performance, but there are some workers who are better off separated. A toxic worker, for example, influences others' performance in a negative way.
If toxic employees are near each other, it increases the probability that one of them will be terminated by 27 percent. This suggests that companies should pay close attention to employee engagement surveys to understand how employees feel about their work environment. Surveys can root out toxicity by providing an early warning for managers and HR to intervene.
Reorganize to Increase Revenue
Once your organization identifies which negative or positive "spillovers" exist in your office and how they impact employees, management can step in and provide a spatial plan. A new seating chart is no small matter: Strategic seating could add an estimated $1 million in annual profit for an organization of 2,000 workers.
"These results suggest that companies can develop a framework to maximize organizational performance simply through the physical placement of workers," says Dylan Minor, visiting assistant professor for Harvard Business School. "Physical space is something organizations can manage relatively inexpensively and should be viewed as an important resource in increasing the returns to human capital."
To learn more about how to apply spatial management in your organization, check out the full report, "Planning Strategic Seating to Maximize Employee Performance" at www.csod.com/strategicseating.
And check out our infographic:
Header Photo: Twenty20
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Learning and development strategies must continue to evolve in the ever-changing world of work. Training and development provide employees with a softer landing into change, and the introduction of digital learning and development platforms allowed employees a smoother transition into a new style of work. Amplifon created a learning and development strategy that is hyper-personalised and skills-focused, allowing their people and their entire organisations to become more agile and adaptable. Amplifon invested not only in learning and development content but also in strengthening the global network and collaboration across geographies and functions, to encourage an equal sense of belonging across the entire organisation. Amplifon created a learning and development strategy that is hyper-personalised and skills-focused, allowing their people and their entire organisations to become more agile and adaptable. Amplifon invested not only in learning and development content but also in strengthening the global network and collaboration across geographies and functions, to encourage an equal sense of belonging across the entire organisation.
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4 tips to managing diversity and gender equality in your company
If you want to generate success in your company and work in a harmonious environment, then you need to consider each and every one of your employees, get to know their interests, and offer them the best treatment and commitment. However, one of the most important principles that should be commonplace in every organisation is the equal treatment of employees (regardless of gender, race or religion). Gender, for example, should not be a factor that influences how we treat our workforce. Having a gender equality policy shows employees that they are valued and that the company is serious about ending discrimination. Having a fair remuneration policy that is not distinguished by the employee’s gender, but by their job position and their development within the company is an important step towards gender quality too. Opt for a gender-diverse workforce Having more gender diversity in a company is very positive and not just for the company’s own benefit. In fact, the UK could boost its GDP by 9% if the female employment rates matched with Sweden’s for instance. The challenge for HR departments is to successfully and strategically find and enrol more women in their business. It could solve a real problem, breaking barriers of gender discrimination in the workplace and promoting equality within the company. Equality between your workers is essential It is important to not only review the salaries of your employees, but also other professional aspects such as career plans and promotions, ensuring that there are equal opportunities for both men and women. Equality will undoubtedly be a motivational element for employees, regardless of their gender, as having clear objectives is a contributing factor in maintaining employees’ interest levels Strike a balance between work life and family life Fostering harmony between work and family life is key to attracting and retaining talent. It can contribute to the company culture, and to a positive attitude and collaboration amongst employees. Another important point is not to make sweeping generalisations about different genders, and instead to consider the specifics on a case by case basis. Employees need to see that their family life is considered and respected. They will appreciate this and it will likely improve company loyalty in the long run. HR must ensure gender equality in their company HR’s role is essential in managing and promoting gender diversity within the business. They must ensure that the motivation and commitment of their employees is strengthened, which, in turn, strengthens the workforce overall and benefits the entire company.