Local companies received an early Christmas present on Monday courtesy of business-minded UBC Okanagan students.
The results of hours of research were provided free of charge at the What Makes a Top Employer? information expo held at the Coast Capri Hotel.
Third-year students from UBCO’s faculty of management were divided into 35 teams, each taking an in-depth look at a different area where employers can improve their workplace to the benefit of both the company and the employees.
“It’s a mix between a trade show and scientific fair,” said Luc Audebrand, assistant professor with the UBCO Faculty of Management.
Each team presented their findings that covered just about every concern a business may have.
Kayla Mann’s team looked at how the design of the office area can foster better communication and innovation among employees.
“A different layout can create a different mood and enhance communication,” said Mann, adding businesses should strive to make the office more of a community rather than individualized units where the employees are separated from each other.
Jasmain Parr’s team looked at the area of feedback and how businesses can get everyone involved so the company knows what to focus on to improve the workplace.
Lee Maingot’s team looked at a new way of handling time off and vacation days.
Maingot says the standard 9-to-5 workday is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as people work from home more on iPhones or other personal high-tech devices.
That means how time off and vacation days are dealt with also needs to change.
Most of the current available data comes from large organizations, but Audebrand says the students wanted to focus on small- and medium-size businesses, like those found in Kelowna and the Okanagan.
“It was very important to make this information useful to local businesses,” said Audebrand.
Mann says the expo hopefully offered a chance for businesses to “get some specific information that we have put hours and hours into.”
The event also provided a look into the future.
Maingot says the employees of tomorrow—this business class included—do not want the status quo when it comes to their work environment, as the expo was intended to give employers a better understanding of what the next generation of employees is looking for in a workplace.