How an HR manager can reduce employee turnover by optimizing the workplace design

A company fails every 3 minutes1. In fact, research has shown that 96% of all businesses fail in the first 10 years1. While they fail for many reasons, employee-related issues are always among the top three reasons behind the failure of organisations worldwide.

To give you an idea, consider the following statistics: 51% of employees are looking to leave their current job and 40% of employees plan to change jobs in the next year². The cost of replacing them is between 16.1% of their annual salary for beginning employees to 213% of their annual salary for senior positions³.

employee turnover

Companies have tried everything to reduce employee turnover, paying millions and billions in leadership & management, staff development & training, and technology, just to name a few.

There is one solution that most have not tried or tried poorly. This solution is not only a “blind spot” for most organizations, but all organizations are already paying for it, only they receive no significant return on this investment. This solution is your workplace. In fact, recent research has shown that 89% of people blame their work environment for dissatisfaction at work4. If the workplace is one of the main reasons for employee dissatisfaction, investing in that space is definitely worth considering.

Your workplace is a strategic tool that can drive innovation and reduce employee turnover.

The optimization of your workspace, once designed and executed correctly (and this is not limited to colors, plants, light, etc.) will first maximize your return on the investment that is your real estate costs. Optimizing your workspace will not only optimize your return on investment on real estate costs but also on the costs of people. How? A better workspace can reduce employee turnover by improving the health, wellbeing and experience of employees, making them happier and the organisation more successful, however on one condition.

employee turnover
employee turnover
employee turnover

Through our years of experience we have come to believe that space can play three roles:

  • Space as Container: Your space is not only a backdrop to our activities. Most people, including architects, think of space as a backdrop – the most beautiful, functional and inspiring backdrop.
  • Space as Communicator: But space has another two roles to play. It needs to be a communicator. It needs to communicate to anyone using or even just visiting the space what your company is about, not by having the logo on the wall, but by communicating your values, vision, strategy and by the energy of the space.
  • Space as Catalyst: The third and most important role of space is to be an active enabler. It is responsible to enable its users to live the values, strategy and vision of the company.
It is only when these 3 roles come together, that experience, added value and innovation can emerge. Think of your space as one of your team members, and hold it accountable to its performance.

Your space is a strategic tool that has the potential to support your corporate innovation and reduce employee turnover. Space is an asset, a strategic tool – so use it as such!

Why should employee wellbeing be one of your organisation’s top priorities?

Drawing upon the latest findings of corporate psychology, we see that when employees are happier, there is a decrease in turnover and sick days & a high increase in sales, retention and innovation.

  • Happiness at work decreases rotation/turnover by 51%.4
  • Happiness at work reduces sick leave by 66%.4
  • Happiness in the workplace reduces burnout by 125%.4
  • Happiness at work increases sales by 37%.4
  • Happiness at work increases retention by 40%.4
  • Happiness at work increases innovation by 300%.4

For a long time, conventional wisdom held the belief that success fuels happiness. This means that if we work really hard, we will be successful and the more success we gain, the happier we will be.

Now we know that this formula is totally wrong. The world’s leading positive psychology expert, Shawn Achor argues that it’s actually the other way around: happiness fuels success and achievement. This means the happier we are, the more successful we are, because happiness makes the brain more engaged, creative, motivated and productive. In his bestselling book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, he claims that: “Each one of us is like that butterfly from the Butterfly Effect. And each tiny move toward a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organisations, our families and our communities.”

By investing in improving your workplace, you achieve many goals at once: employee turnover, employee satisfaction, higher retention and more importantly the happiness of your teams, from which derive all things good.

By investing in optimising the design of your workplace, you can maximise your return on investment on your two highest costs: your people costs and your real estate costs.

To find out how optimising your workplace can help you reduce employee turnover and maximise your ROI on your highest costs, download here AKKA’s Innovative Workplace Expert guide to see how our team of designers and architects at AKKA Architects has boosted employee retention over and over again for small, medium and large organizations, in a variety of industries and countries from around the world.

Use your workplace as a strategic tool to attract and retain the best talent.


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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA



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