3 Key Takeaways from BDO’s Workplace Strategy Webcast

The workplace of the future is still evolving, and subject to debate.

As the labor market has cooled a bit (even though unemployment rates remain near historic lows and there is an acute shortage of workers in many job categories) many companies are implementing stricter in-person work requirements.  

 While some organizations are increasingly advocating for a return to the office (RTO), the concept is shifting. Flexible work arrangements, such as working from home and hybrid models, have become significantly more prevalent (specifically for white-collar workers) compared to recent years. In many cases, the preferences of leaders and those of their employees differ significantly.  Meanwhile, different companies, even in the same industry, are pursuing very different policies based on their assessment of costs and benefits.  When workers are not required to come to the office, are they happier and more productive?  Is it possible to mentor and develop young professionals if they do not share a physical workspace with colleagues – specifically more experienced ones?  And what happens to organizational culture when an organization is fully or mostly remote?

We explored these topics further in a recent BDO webcast: Workplace Strategy – Creating a Competitive Edge. The webcast featured insights from Gabriella Salvatore, Greg Gratteau, and Ross Forman, who are senior members of BDO’s Management Consulting team and leaders in human capital and workplace strategy. Additionally, Ken Stuart, Real Estate and Workplace Vice President at Take Two Interactive, and Trevor Ncala, Deputy Division Chief of Corporate Services Facilities and Workplace Division at International Monetary Fund, also contributed their perspectives. 

Read on to see our top three takeaways as well as polling data from our webcast audience of cross-functional professionals. 

#1: Most organizations need to define their purpose of place

53% of the 81 professionals who responded to our live webcast polling question have not created a compelling workplace value proposition. 

A well-defined workplace value proposition — or “purpose of place” — is critical for developing a workforce model that nurtures collaboration, boosts productivity, and improves employee retention. It is essential that company leadership does not define this purpose in a vacuum but rather incorporates the "voice of the Employee" into the conversation. Engaging in open dialogue with their teams allows for a more holistic definition of their purpose of place, effectively balancing the preferences of employees with the needs of the business. This inclusive approach ensures that the workforce feels valued and heard, fostering a more committed and satisfied team.

#2: Effective hybrid management hinges on trust

22% of the 81 professionals who responded to our live webcast polling question feel a disconnect between leadership and employees.

Bridging disconnect between company leadership and individual employees hinges on fostering trust. Company leaders need to trust their teams to perform regardless of working arrangement, which may require leaders to adapt their management styles. Employers must equip managers with the skills to lead effectively in a hybrid work environment, and managers need to align with their teams on expectations for work hours, communication styles and responsiveness, and other operational procedures. 

#3: Investing in culture is key to engaged employees and satisfied customers

72% of executives1 say that organizations with highly engaged employees have happier customers.

Greater flexibility generally leads to happier, more engaged employees — but culture is about more than how many days teams spend in the office. As organizations work to define their purpose of place, they should consider how their workplace and workforce management models impact company culture, employee morale, and engagement. 

1. Quantum Workplace Survey – November 2023

As businesses consider what types of talent will help them thrive in coming years, they must also cultivate the right culture necessary to attract that talent. Consequently, companies should view defining their purpose of place now as an investment in building an attractive culture to obtain the people they will need to succeed in the future. 

Have you defined your purpose of place? Contact us to get started.