Espresa CEO Alex Shubat discussed modern workplace programs and the trends surrounding them during his presentation to Argyle's CHRO membership at the 2018 Human Capital Forum: Employee Experience in the Digital Era in San Francisco on March 21. In his presentation, "Engaging Workplace Programs: Understanding Modern Trends," Shubat provided best practices that can help a company build a culture that fosters employee engagement using digital tools.
Today's businesses are constantly searching for innovative ways to drive employee satisfaction and retention. Now, workplace programs are proving to be mutually beneficial for businesses and their employees.
Workplace programs are becoming increasingly prevalent in companies across all industries. These programs often are based around fitness, but they can be implemented in a number of areas.
"Fitness is one of the foundations of a workplace program, and you can build on that," Shubat said.
Workplace programs can deliver immediate and long-lasting benefits for a company and its employees, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
"Designing an employee program is very important, but you also need to think about your budget."
A workplace program enables a company to recognize and reward its employees. As such, this program may help a business foster goodwill with employees across all departments. It also may help a company differentiate itself to job-seekers – something that could prove to be exceedingly valuable in a fierce job market.
"We need to recognize our employees," Shubat noted. "Recognitions and rewards are very important, and one of the trendy ways to provide [these things] is to providing engaging experiences."
Although a workplace program allows a company to reward its employees, not all workplace programs are created equal.
A company must allocate time and resources to tailor its workplace program to the needs of its employees. That way, this business can provide its employees with rewards that match or exceed workers' expectations.
Ultimately, a business should learn from its employees and find out what they want out of a workplace program. By connecting with its workforce, a company can develop an effective workplace program from day one.
"You really need to attach your rewards to the values of the company, and you need to customize [your rewards]," Shubat indicated.
A workplace program could help a company reduce its employee churn and bolster its employee retention levels as well.
For example, if a workplace program encourages employees to connect with one another, this program may lead workers to become friends. And as workers bond with one another, employee engagement and satisfaction may increase. At the same time, a company could reap the benefits of increased productivity from employees who work well with one another.
"If employees join a club … they'll form friends. And you don't want to leave a company where you have friends," Shubat stated.
There is no shortage of workplace programs that a company can use to engage with its employees. If a business crafts a workplace program based on its employees' needs, it could increase the likelihood that a program will hit the mark with workers.
"For companies that are trying to build a great place to work, there are many workplace programs," Shubat said.
Companies must empower HR and benefits teams to deliver effective workplace programs. Because if these groups lack time and resources to develop workplace programs, they may fail to help a company achieve its desired results.
"It is not easy to deliver employee programs because HR and benefits teams were not built to deliver these programs," Shubat pointed out.
The budget that is available to deliver a workplace program can have major ramifications on the program's success.
"You might be investing in an employee program … but you need to figure out [the results]."
Companies must simultaneously prioritize a workplace program's design and budget. This approach enables a business to maximize the time and resources at its disposal and ensure a workplace program can deliver value for a company and its employees.
"Designing an employee program is very important, but you also need to think about your budget," Shubat noted. "There are certain things that a company will pay for, but other things may need to be subsidized."
Merely creating a workplace program is insufficient too. Companies instead must monitor the progress of a workplace program over time; otherwise, businesses risk missing out on opportunities to use workplace programs to engage employees.
"You might be investing in an employee program … but you need to figure out [the results]," Shubat stated.
Developing an effective workplace program is no small feat. Companies must remain persistent as they build workplace programs and collaborate with employees throughout the development and implementation processes. If businesses understand exactly what employees demand from a workplace program, they can develop successful programs that deliver meaningful results for all parties involved in them.
Alex Shubat is co-founder and CEO of Espresa, a workplace employee programs platform. Most recently, he served as CEO of Goji FS, a startup in the food tech space. He co-founded and was the CEO of Virage Logic before it was acquired by Synopsys. He is on the industry advisory boards of Santa Clara University and the University of Toronto. He holds an executive MBA from Stanford University, a Ph.D. from Santa Clara University and a BS/MS from the University of Toronto.