Employee experience is increasingly being recognised as the foundation to successful employee engagement. A select group of employers have not only acknowledged this but are using the physical workplace as a strategic tool in competitive advantage. Last month Leesman, A global business intelligence tool that benchmarks how workplaces support employee and organisational performance, launched a new research book outlining how the best beat the rest.

In 2017, Leesman surveyed more than 117,103 employees in 813 workplaces worldwide, further bolstering the largest available database on employee experience, which now has well over quarter of a million respondents. Out of the 813 workplaces surveyed last year, 24 have been awarded the Leesman+ certification across 21 organisations. The Leesman+ certification is awarded to workplaces that score an Lmi (Leesman’s workplace effectiveness score) of 70 or above on its performance scale.

The achievements of these 21 businesses and their physical workplaces are being celebrated in a new report called ‘The World’s Best Workplaces 2017’. The data gathered from the Leesman+ buildings provides a unique opportunity to examine what features, services and infrastructures constitute to an optimal employee experience. These workplaces outperform the Leesman global average environments with outstanding scores in features like ‘informal work areas and breakout zones’, ‘variety of different types of workspace’, ‘atriums and communal areas’ and ‘quiet rooms for working alone or in pairs’.

Interestingly, no one sector, country or building type dominates this selection of high performing workplaces. Reinforcing the suggestions that there is no elusive winning strategy or workplace ingredient guaranteed to deliver high performance. It does, however, further evidence that an outstanding workplace experience is simply one that fully understands the working needs of the employees it accommodates, built on solid foundations that observe a series of basic workplace factors.

The reports shows some clear data differences between the average workplace and the highest performing from the database. For instance, at the highest performing workplace, 93 per cent of employees believe their workplace enables them to work productively, whereas in the average workplace only 59 per agree with this statement. There is a similar data gap between employees who report their workplace contributes to a sense of community, with the highest performing organisation achieving 91 per cent agreement and the average a mere 59 per cent. Psychologically, we all have an instinctive need to belong to a group and feel included, accepted and respected. In the workplace, we are also likely to perform better when we feel a sense of belonging, and when we work together towards shared goals. That said, a community doesn’t appear automatically; it needs places in which to evolve. So while the workplace is not the sole contributing factor in creating a sense of community at work, Leeman’s data increasingly points to it being a strong influencer and enabler.

Tim Oldman, CEO of Leesman has said:

“Increasing numbers of organisations are now setting Leesman+ certification as a corporate objective. Understanding what makes the buildings that achieve Leesman+ status distinctive, and how it is that they differ to the vast majority of corporate workplaces, is a key focus for us. We suggest business leaders familiarise themselves with the findings contained within the Leesman+ book, in order to make the most out of their physical space, deliver an optimal employee experience and to develop a workplace programme that can consistently deliver high performance.”

The Leesman+ workplaces are using data to find out what it is that their employees need from their workplace; and what it is that will keep them engaged and help them unleash their potential. This elite group see their workplaces as opportunities to make the most of an employees’ daily activities and interactions, giving positive experiences across multiple touchpoints. Most importantly perhaps, these employers recognise that higher employee engagement is achieved through delivering an outstanding employee experience, and the physical workplace plays a big part in that.


If you’re interested in the future of work then take a look at the programme for our upcoming future of work summit taking place on the 18th October.





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.