13 Employee Experience Quotes To Inspire Your EX Strategy This Year
At a time when many people are rethinking the role of the office and reconsidering the type of work they want to be doing, a great employee experience can make the difference between attracting top talent or losing out to a competitor.
Investing in your employees is a marathon, not a sprint. You may not see results right away, so you have to take the long view and celebrate small victories. And you’re bound to encounter some setbacks along the way. It’s OK to feel discouraged as long as those setbacks don’t keep you on the sidelines for long.
At iOFFICE + SpaceIQ, we’re fortunate to have relationships with many innovative workplace leaders who are eager to share their wisdom in webinars and weekly Workplace Innovator podcasts. In addition to their own insights, they often share their favorite inspirational quotes about leadership from others.
Here are some of the best quotes we’ve heard from them and others about how to transform the employee experience for new ways of working.
Inspiring employee experience quotes
On why the employee experience matters
“In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create.”
-Jacob Morgan, keynote speaker, futurist and author of The Employee Experience Advantage
If you’re questioning whether investing in the employee experience is worth the effort, you need to read Jacob Morgan’s work. After researching hundreds of companies, he found businesses that invest heavily in the employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t. Investing in the employee experience means taking a proactive approach to the physical workplace, technology and HR policies. If you’re actively focusing on each of these three areas, you’re on the right track—and you’re already making more of an impact than you realize.
“Our people-first approach, which has guided our company since it was founded, means when our company does well, our people do really, really well. Our people work incredibly hard and deserve to share in Southwest’s success.”
-Gary Kelly, CEO, Southwest Airlines
The “employee first” approach has paid huge dividends for companies like Southwest Airlines. When employees share in a company’s profits as they do at Southwest, they are more likely to go the extra mile to put customers and the company first. Southwest shared $586 million in profits with its employees in 2017, the equivalent of six weeks’ worth of pay for each employee. It’s no surprise that the company continues to report record earnings.
The lesson: when you invest in the employee experience, the revenue will follow
On adapting the employee experience for the hybrid workplace
“You’ve got to meet people where they are…not spending a lot of time thinking about where we’re going to be or where we’ve been. There is a compelling case to be made for the hybrid work experience, but I do think the one challenge that’s going to be difficult to overcome is building deep, meaningful work relationships.”-Geoff Snavely, MilliCare Floor & Textile Care
On how to measure the employee experience
“If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. And if you can’t understand it, you can’t improve it.”
-Dan Ryan, co-founder and CEO of VergeSense
We’ve been designing workplaces for decades, but until more recently, we haven’t had the ability to truly understand how employees are actually using those spaces. Occupancy sensors can help us quantify that. We can see which days and times employees use the office most often, how much time they spend working at individual desks compared to collaborative spaces, and identify areas of the workplace that may be underutilized. In a recent Workplace Innovator podcast, Ryan shared insights about how space utilization is changing and how to adapt our offices to fit employees’ changing needs and expectations.
“The pandemic has really empowered us to speak for ourselves in a lot of things. How do we leverage qualitative analytics to a greater degree? How do we encourage people to provide insight that you wouldn’t get through data?”
-Renee Ovrut, MUFG Union Bank
While data can tell us a lot about how employees use the workplace, there are some leaders won’t understand unless they’re having frequent conversations with their workforce. In a recent Workplae Innovator podcast, Ovrut said the return to the office has given us the opportunity to recreate our workplace ecosystem. Everyone should have an equal voice and be able to share what has worked for them, and leaders need to listen to that feedback.
On the evolution of employee experience
“Flexibility is not linear. It’s personal to everyone, and it continually evolves. We’re in this evolution now and the hybrid workplace is one component of it, but the trend is that it’s becoming employee-focused.”
-Ramzah Khan, Studio Manager, Ware Malcomb
As a studio manager, Khan spoke about how these changes impact workplace design. Employee surveys and continual feedback from individuals can help you better understand how to reconfigure your spaces. Leaders also need to see the employee experience from a broader lens. The physical environment is just one part of a three-legged stool that also includes workplace culture (including policies) and technology.
The key to a positive employee experience is to treat every person like the individual he or she is. In other words, adjust your communication and management styles so they best support each employee’s unique needs.
If you don’t know how to move forward, you’re in good company. Just take the first step and be willing to pivot from there, as one real estate leader pointed out in a podcast about flexible workplace strategies.
“We need to ask ourselves what we need to do to stay relevant in the future. I don’t believe you can do very much wrong at this moment in time because it’s never been tested. The only thing you can do is you can experience that this is probably not the right thing to do and change, try something new.”
-Peter Baumann, Head of Workplace and Projects in Global Real Estate & Facilities at SAP
On the qualities that make a great workplace leader
“To be kind is more important than being right. ”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
The pandemic brought the importance of mental health and empathy to the forefront. We’ve all learned to work differently, but at the core, the best employee relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect. The best leaders are great listeners. They approach difficult conversations with kindness and seek to understand their employees’ perspectives.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
– Jimmy Dean, entertainer
You may have what you believe is a fantastic workplace strategy — a roadmap for creating a great employee experience. Unfortunately, success will be hard to come by if your workforce isn’t ready or willing to adapt. For instance, people who are attached to their physical desk spaces will be less willing to move if they don’t feel like they have a quiet, comfortable place to work. If you’re taking away assigned desks, you need to make adjustments like adding extra shelving for personal items and creating more quiet spaces.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist
Not every initiative you undertake will be successful. Sometimes you simply won’t have the resources to accomplish what you want to. But you can’t give up just because you run into a few snags on your way. Be realistic and don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal, and you’ll be much more likely to reach your destination.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
– Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
One of the most critical skills a workplace leader needs is to know how to leverage the strengths of his or her team. It’s just not possible for one person to manage an entire workforce and workplace on his or her own. You must recognize that each member of your team has a different set of skills that can be used to contribute to the employee experience. Give them the freedom to use those skills.
“Deal with it before it happens. Set things in order before there is confusion.”
– Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and writer
Many aspects of the workplace leader’s role revolve around solving unexpected issues. But the ability to proactively address potential problems is a necessary skill, too. It is much easier to manage issues that can affect the employee experience before employees even know the issue exists.
“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
– Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, 18th Century French writer
Making any changes in the workplace can be challenging. You may encounter resistance from the executive team and even employees themselves. But the longer you wait to implement those changes, the tougher it will be. Understand and acknowledge the obstacles you’ll encounter, have a plan to overcome them, and then take the leap.
iOFFICE + SpaceIQ offer comprehensive solutions to connect your people, places, and assets. That includes integrated workplace management systems and space management software, solutions to support a safe return to the office, and employee experience apps including iOFFICE Hummingbird and Serraview Engage. These solutions give you the insight you need to make better business decisions and equip your workforce with the tools they need to be productive from anywhere.
For more great insights on how to use technology to create the best employee experience for your hybrid workplace, check out these recommendations from Verdantix.