👈 Susteyn Blog

Many have heard that having plants around in the office is generally a good thing, and maybe some of you have experiences the positive effects first hand. Most people that work in HR or in the people and culture departments probably also know that disengaged, unhappy, and stressed employees can be really costly and bad for the business. What if I told you that plants in the workspace can improve employee wellbeing, engagement, retention and hiring, that you could potentially save money by investing in your employees and that all of this is backed by science?

In this article we will dive deep into the science and cost of disengaged employees, talk about hiring and turnover and the effects of a strong (employee) brand, stress and sick days and look into the latest studies about hybrid workplaces.

Once we understood the cost and potential for improvement, we will look closer into the science backed effects of indoor plants in the workspace. Their power to increase productivity, and energy levels, reduce stress, ability to generate happiness and the effect on humans when nurturing plants.

In the last section we will bring it all together, and look at some actions points for offices, HR or people and culture departments to consider.

Let’s dive in.

The data from the present study provide further substantiation to the theory that doing what is best for employees does not have to contradict what is best for the business or organisation. - Gallup 2020 meta analysis p. 32.

The cost for HR / people and culture departments.

The cost of disengaged employees:

The proxy for productivity and performance.

Gallup, is well known for over 50 years of global employee and organisational research.

“Gallup defines employee engagement as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.” [1] They developed the Q12 Survey, a series of 12 questions to determine employee engagement which has proven to be the best predictor for productivity and performance.

Why is employee engagement important? Globally, 67% of the workforce is not engaged. In a company of 10,000 employees with an average salary of $50,000 each, the cost of their disengagement is $60.3 million annually. So any budget reduction strategy that harms engagement can harm productivity - while strategies that support engagement can encourage productivity at little to no extra cost.

In their 2020 employee engagement meta analysis they studied 2.7 million employees across 100.000 teams [- the largest study do date.2]

They found that work units in the top quartile of engagement see 18% higher productivity, 23% higher profitability and 18-43% decrease in turnover* and 81% less absenteeism than those in the bottom quartile. This is huge. Keep on reading for more details.

In other words disengaged employees cost their company 18% off their annual salary.

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