Does the Company's Location Affect Employee Engagement?

Everything is local when you come down to it -- even your corporate policies and the very amenities your business offers.

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By Andre Lavoie

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Does the location of a workplace have an impact on employee engagement? It may.

A recent survey by Quantum Workplace identified the most (and least) engaged cities, with Huntsville, Ala., Miami and Nashville topping the list of locales with the most engaged workers.

The study, conducted in 2013, found that, on average, about 75 percent of employees in the top five cities were engaged. The national average is 68 percent. In comparison, 60 percent of employees on average were engaged in the bottom five cities.

No matter where your company's headquarters falls on this list, employers can use their location to increase employee engagement and even recruit top talent:

Related: Which Is a Better City for Startups, San Francisco or New York City?

1. Add outdoor workspace.

Breathing in fresh air is great and highly beneficial for employees and employers. Encouraging employees to venture off for a brief 10-minute walk outdoors every day can help them clear their mind and then get back on track for the rest of the day.

Offering an outdoor workspace that's comfortable is also conducive to productivity. Providing covered seating and technology that can support an outdoor workspace is critical. Mifi hotspots can enable employees to work anywhere while still staying connected and productive.

Whether a particular company office has nice weather year-round or just a few months of the year, giving employees the option to enjoy the outdoors is key to keeping them happy and engaged. This is also a great way to attract top talent: Some people don't want to feel confined in an indoor desk space.

Related: Why Making Your Employees Happy Will Help Your Bottom Line

2. Partner with local area retailers to offer employee perks.

Great company perks extend beyond monetary incentives. Consider partnering with some retailers and restaurants near the office and offer employees big discounts. Whether it's half-off lunch deals or 25 percent discounts on professional attire, this can mean a lot to employees and potential hires as well.

And local deals are a great way to put a spotlight on what the company's city has to offer. Getting employees vested in the area they travel to each day for work is key to keeping them engaged inside and outside the workplace. When they are proud not only of the company they work for but also the surrounding area, this is a win-win situation for everyone.

Related: The Way to Employees' Hearts May Well Be Through Their Stomachs

3. Use popular community spaces for company events.

Many cities harbor fun and even eclectic venues that can be tapped for social or professional events. Lead by example and host company events or meetings at these spaces.

This will not only introduce employees to areas or businesses they might not have discovered on their own, but it will also bring them outside the office. Taking advantage of what a city has to offer and showing employees what's available is a great strategy for employee recruitment and engagement.

Related: Turn the Distraction of Fantasy Sports Into an Engagement Opportunity

4. Grant extra time off during popular events.

Many cities have special events that everyone likes to attend. For instance, big sporting events, like the World Series or Super Bowl, might take place in your region only once or twice in a lifetime.

Give employees time to be active in their community and participate in these prominent events. Consider offering one extra day of personal time off for staffers so they can attend a community event each year. This lets employees select their event of choice and they won't have to worry about using up their regular allotment of vacation or personal days to do so.

Every company is a product of its community and employees. Connecting the two can help employees feel engaged and proud of their work and the surrounding area and can attract top candidates who want to be a part of the same thing.

Related: The Serendipity of Collisions at Work -- Are They Really Just a Happy Accident?

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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