Which Matters Most: Technology, Physical Surroundings or Culture?

These days, every company seems to want to deliver a better employee experience. But the challenge for many is where to begin.

3  Drivers of the Employee Experience

In The Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan distills the Employee Experience down to three core elements:

  1. Technologies – Equipping employees with high-end technologies
  2. Physical Surroundings – office architecture and furnishings
  3. Culture – helping workers understand how their tasks contributed to the organization


This distillation can provide the focus and guidance for those companies in search of where to start.  In fact, Morgan’s research is highlighted in the July-August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review by showing the correlation of between the employee experience, and bottom-line financial results.


Harvard Business Review highlights the business value of investing in all  three areas, through the statistics below.  In fact, these statistics can for the basis of the business case for investing in any of the three areas.


The Business Case for Investing in the Employee Experience

Amount by Which Companies that Invested in Employees Outperformed Others:

  • 4.2 times greater average profit
  • 4.0 times greater profit per employee
  • 2.8 times greater revenue per employee
  • 2.1 times greater average revenue
  • 1.5 times greater employee growth


“Companies that invested most heavily in three areas of the Employee Experience Employee outperformed the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For and Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work by considerable margins.”

In an  ideal business world, every company would have unlimited resources to invest in all three areas.  But we’re not living in an ideal world, and companies must make choices.

What if You Can't Have All Three?


That said, if you could only invest in two of the three, which would they be?  Which two of the three drivers of Employee Experience can  combine to deliver the greatest impact?


And what if you could only choose one of the three?  Which would it be?


Would a cohesive, aligning culture increase employees’ willingness to overlook a bland physical work space, and put in the extra effort to compensate for old technology?


Or would the newest technologies enable the employees to work more efficiently, and overcome the drawbacks of (poor) surroundings and a (mediocre) culture?


Or would a (modern) facilities and the right mix of collaborative and quiet spaces keep employees excited, engaged and focused enough to offset the older technology and (mediocre) culture?


Which one of the three drivers is the most powerful lever to improve the Employee Experience?