Brands are meant to communicate values and make bold promises. Great brands proclaim aspirational values that can inspire customers to lifelong loyalty. At the recent Corenet Global Summit of corporate real estate executives, I presented a strategic framework for delivering the corporate workplace as a great hospitality brand. I asked attendees to imagine launching a hospitality brand that could support good workplace choices, foster employee engagement, spur innovation and promote wellness, while graciously delivering an array of inspirational workplace experiences that delight their knowledge workers. After all, knowledge workers are the value-generating engines of any organization.
It can be a complex challenge to develop such a workplace strategy since the most talented workers are increasingly independent and transient. This has freed workers to choose workplaces that reflect their personal work-styles and values and task at hand, whether inside or outside the corporate workplace.
Meanwhile, the real estate and hospitality industries are converging. They are competing to serve the growing demand for workplace choice with a full spectrum of commercial workplace offerings. Hotel brands have invested over $6 billion in the last 4 years to renovate lobbies and small meeting spaces. Real estate service firms are offering technology to connect mobile corporate workers with serviced workspaces. Corporate coworking brands are offering memberships to shared work environments with access to high performance meeting space and collaboration technology. In fact, the coworking segment has grown into a $9 billion industry according to the Global Workspace Association. Leading real estate service firms are now offering turnkey workplace-as-a-service solutions to companies that would rather not create and manage their own hospitality-based workplace.
Should these businesses be viewed as unwelcome competition for corporate workplace initiatives? On the contrary. They present great opportunities to extend a corporate workplace brand while maintaining corporate standards and variabilizing occupancy costs. Integrating a corporate workplace strategy with third party workplace providers can add resilience and flexibility to any organization.
According to Serendipity Labs, there are six bold brand promises that can serve company goals while winning loyalty from their most valued workers:
- Inspiration: Workplace designs that invite engagement and spur innovation
- Connection: Technology that reinforces and augments human connections
- Security: Personal safety and exceptional technical security
- Service Level: Workplace services graciously delivered at enterprise standards
- Sustainability: Practices that reflect good stewardship of resources
- Visibility: Policies that balance employee choice with ability to measure
Have you been part of a team that launched a workplace initiative as a brand? What brand promises are being made to your workforce? We’d love to hear from you.