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Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study Playbook: Accelerate Your Organization’s Evolution to Succeed in the New World of Work  

The Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study Playbook is a talent-based resource created based on the results from a Greater Des Moines (DSM) knowledge workers study. The Playbook presents the findings of the study as well as detailed insights and actionable steps that can be taken to address the current and future needs of the local workforce. 

The Playbook lays out 13 work-plays on topics such as: 

  • Celebrating wins in a variety of ways 
  • Creating forums for reflections about the team
  • Delegating growth opportunities 
  • Creating business process maps 
  • Balancing preferences for work-from-home and hybrid models 
  • Finding meaningful opportunities for in-person work 
  • Ensuring effective meetings 

The work-plays are aided by real world case studies that were submitted by DSM business and organization leaders.  

Download the Playbook

Case Studies

The Playbook includes several case studies from employers in the DSM region. These studies cover a variety of topics such as employee productivity, how to best invest in employees and flexibility in the workplace. Each study demonstrates different insights that can be found in the Playbook. Explore each local case study below to learn how you can implement workforce trends at your organization. 

Beth Nigut of EMC Insurance: Flexibility Improves Retention + Productivity 

“As a company, we remain focused on allowing our team members the flexibility they need to have the best experience possible. That includes giving them the option to select the work arrangement that works best for them — whether that’s a full or partial return to the office or full-time work from home.” 

Joe Benesh President and CEO of The Ingenuity Company: The Socratic Approach to Adversity 

“I have heard from countless organizations that “we can’t compete with ‘X’ fast food place because they pay $2 more an hour.” The response is that you can — and I have seen organizations successfully do just that — using a different approach from the one that seems most obvious.” 

Ali Payne President of ethOs, a Holmes Murphy company: Investing Fully in Your Employees Matters 

“We fully believe that what we do starts with our employees who, in turn, invest in our clients, community and the industry, and that our outsides need to match our insides.” 

Kristi Knous President of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines: Crafting a Culture of Better Together 

“Creating the culture we strive for is intentional. It takes the entire team to develop and hold one another accountable.” 

Lisa Wolf of ARAG Legal Insurance: Humanizing the Employee Experience 

“It’s easy to establish words for your company values but the true effort comes in trying to execute and live them out each day. With those as our foundation, we consider the key pillars of our workforce value proposition: Culture, Career and Total Rewards.” 

Drew Harden President of Blue Compass: Blue Compass Takes Employee Appreciation to New Heights 

“While all positive acknowledgment is an essential key to having a great company culture, there’s a certain type that’s particularly effective: creative appreciation.” 

Tim Severson of Nyemaster Goode, P.C. Law Firm: Weathering the Change 

“We made a very successful transition to a hybrid working model that has been important in retaining staff and alleviating some of the burnout issues our attorneys and staff have experienced.” 

Amanda Young Senior Vice President of Bankers Trust: Prioritizing Employee Value Proposition at Bankers Trust 

“Throughout the process, we’ve learned that more than anything, people want to be met where they’re at and treated as unique individuals.” 

Melissa Ness founder of Connectify HR: Minimizing Employee Turnover with Tero International’s Diagnostic Tool – Skills and Interest Chart 

“Inherent within this is understanding where the leader can find growth opportunities that align with the interests of the employee and delegate/give more opportunities to that employee to enhance their development while tapping into their motivation and interests.”

About the study

In early 2022, The Partnership commissioned a study of knowledge workers in DSM. The DSM Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study provided DSM employers with insight into workplace and work preference styles of knowledge workers. The source of the data is hyper-local. The study included responses from 5,197 knowledge workers from organizations in DSM. The DSM Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study is the first-ever community-level study of its kind. 

Multiple subjects were addressed with this study. The Partnership along with the research teams at Bâton Global and Reworc crafted a set of questions to ensure the survey experience would provide robust data to make decisions with.  

The survey highlighted in this playbook covered five primary subjects including: 

  1. Work Behaviors: The types of things workers are actually doing day-to-day 
  2. Mobility: Where workers have been working and plan to work 
  3. Attributes: Key characteristics of their organization and the surrounding environment 
  4. Work Culture: Both current and desired—with the competing values framework 
  5. Downtown: The priorities, satisfaction and utilization patterns of workers 

To further understand evolving workforce needs for the region, the DSM Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study was conducted again in 2023 and included over 2,000 participants from 20 organizations. 

Key findings from the 2023 survey include: 

  • Happier Workers: An increase in satisfaction with their organizations.  
  • Total Rewards: The make-up of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) has been shifting in response to employers’ actions over the last year.  
  • In It Together: Continued growth and satisfaction with collaboration.  
  • Office Space Matters: An evolving workforce requires new spaces to optimize productivity and ROI.  
  • Flexibility First: Workers say flexibility to fulfill personal responsibilities is among the most critical components not only for the return to office but also their employers’ EVP.  
  • Learning Culture: The continued emphasis on experiential learning on the job.  

Learn more about the 2023 study here.