What Is a Destination Workplace? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Most people understand that when you put the word “destination” in front of another word, it does something special. It takes is to a new level. It indicates an entirely different class, quality and/or experience. It sets it apart as being unique and special, and it often infers a degree of excellence.

A destination wedding allows couples to host their wedding in a unique location of their choice — normally one that feels more lavish, unusual or luxurious than the alternatives they might have otherwise been considering. A destination hotel or resort is not just a place to stay— it’s the reason for visiting a country or area, because it’s special or provides many services or activities (according to Longman Dictionary).

Now let’s talk about a destination workplace: a company or business which is a truly desirable place to work. It’s a place where people want to work there above most other companies because the employee experience is unique and exceptional.

And in the context of the current labor crisis, there has never been a more important time in history to be focused on creating a destination workplace.

To become a destination workplace, any organization needs to cultivate a working environment that:

  1. Supports their staff in getting all of their universal needs met.
  2. Does not actively compromise their universal needs.

Both are equally important, but for most companies, No. 2 is actually the priority as it tends to be the most common issue. So let’s dive in.

Related: The Labor Shortage Is Only Getting Worse. What’s Causing It and How Can I Avoid Losing Staff?

Employee engagement is key to better business results

When it comes to staff, a lot of organizations have historically been focused simply on the financial aspect of their needs: Are we paying them enough, and are the benefits good enough?

But if you want to create a destination workplace, you need to support all aspects of your employee’s universal needs. This includes:

  • What they need to survive (eg pay and safe working conditions)
  • What they need for their internal wellbeing (eg being acknowledged, valued, empowered in their role and not having to compromise their personal or professional integrity)
  • What they need to grow and expand (for example training, opportunities and some variety in their job)
  • What they need to have a greater sense of fulfillment/purpose (like feeling that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves, for example).

When leaders and organizations create initiatives that address all of these aspects of their employee well-being, it is a gamechanger for both employee engagement, loyalty and business results.

The way that most organizations have been run to date, the focus has been predominantly, if not viewing, on the bottom line — employees as a resource to generate financial results. What most companies do not realize is that if you run your organization in a way that ensures that the needs of the employees are being well met, they will in turn perform better, be more engaged and less likely to leave.

This new approach — which prioritizes the needs of your employees alongside The needs of the organization — not only creates a culture and environment that is better for your entire team, but it also generates bottom-line results too.

Employee engagement is the extent to which the organization, team and work supports an employee in getting their needs met, which creates the mental and emotional connection between the employee and the organization that leads to engagement.

Employee engagement is in effect the equivalent of internally facing customer service — how is the organization, team and work serving the needs of the employee?

Gallup compared to business units with high engagement levels against those that don’t and reported the following conclusions: Engaged employees increase productivity by 17%, increase customer ratings by 10%, increase sales by 20%, increase profitability by 21% and reduce absenteeism by 41%. So, by taking an approach that focuses on employee engagement, your bottom line will also improve. The better your employees’ needs are being met, the higher your employee engagement, the better your business performs. The numbers say it all.

Related: Why Everything You Know About Employee Engagement Is Wrong

What do you need to do to create a destination workplace?

There are five levels of internal customer service, which create five different levels of employee engagement — which then also creates five different types of workplace:

  • Level 5 (destination workplace): Extraordinary internal customer service, highly-engaged staff
    • An organization that supports the meeting of their staff’s universal needs beyond expectations and/or supporting the meeting of universal needs that weren’t expected as a part of the context of the working relationship.
  • Level 4 (desirable workplace): Good internal customer service, moderately-engaged staff
    • An organization that supports the meeting of their staff’s universal needs well within the context of the working relationship.
  • Level 3 (adequate workplace): Basic internal customer service, barely-engaged staff
    • An organization that’s doing the minimum required to meet the universal needs of their staff within the context of the working relationship.
  • Level 2 (undesirable workplace): Bad internal customer service, disengaged staff, disruptive to the workplace
    • An organization that is failing to do the minimum to meet their staff’s universal needs in the context of the working relationship.
  • Level 1 (damaging workplace): Damaging internal customer service, disengaged staff
    • An organization that is repeatedly compromising, eroding or negatively impacting their staff’s universal needs.

The vast majority of organizations sit between levels one and three on this scale, and it is very rare for a company to be operating at level four or five. This means that if you are the organization that creates an extraordinary internal customer experience, and in doing so, create a level five (or destination workplace), you will set yourselves apart from others in your industry in a big way.


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