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Hiring talent: Your workspace is a recruiting tool

Kim Tidwell Headshot

Workspace is a reflection of company culture 

With the job market humming along at a dizzying clip and decades-low unemployment hovering under 4%, it’s a job seekers’ market out there. Companies of all sizes, across all industries and every corner of the globe, are affected. According to ManpowerGroup’s 2018 talent survey, 45% of global employers are concerned about hiring talent with the skills they need. Add to this, that a full 66% of younger workers plan to leave their current jobs by 2020. If you’ve been finding it hard to hire as of late, you are in good company.

So, what does this mean for businesses embarking on hiring talent? To start with, you’ll want to conduct an audit of your recruiting assets. More than simply your job rec, your recruiting assets span your entire operation, from your people to your brand. These are huge buckets encompassing many different factors. Your online and offline brand presence does a bang-up job distilling who you are and why you do what you do. You have a stellar recruiting team and happy employee advocates on the case. Have you considered your physical space? Your workplace is an extension of your brand and reflects how much—or little—you value your people.

Is your workspace an asset or a roadblock?

Does your workspace genuinely reflect the way your people work? Perhaps a better question is: does your workspace encourage your people’s best work, the work that’s required to accomplish some of the great things you have planned? Your workspace is as valuable as your job rec, your people, your social media profiles, or your company website. As an extension of your brand, does your workspace reflect your culture and values? Once you start thinking your workspace in this way, it can become an essential asset in your recruiting strategy

In LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Report, 80% of surveyed employers said that soft skills such as creativity, adaptability, and collaboration are increasingly necessary to their organizational success. Considering this, does your workspace hone these ever-important skills? 

If the work that you are doing right now requires more collaboration between small groups of people, and your physical workspace isn’t conducive to this, then it’s time to explore options for how to bring this into your workspace. If you are trying to hire for a creative role that requires quiet and space to problem-solve, asking them to work in an open-plan office full of salespeople on their phones all day is not going to work. 

Dysfunctional physical workspaces can have the effect of exorcising the very skills you need right out of your people. Worse, employees leave, and you are thrown back in recruiting mode. It also makes it challenging to hire the very people you require. 

If your workspace works at cross purposes with what your business needs, it might be worth investing some time and energy and resources into changing this dynamic. As Gensler notes in their workplace research, perception is the reality. How your employees (and, we’d add, your potential hires) experience your workspace is their reality. 

What your prospective employees want

Job seekers are savvy enough to read between the lines. A company that leads with fancy perks and obnoxious job titles runs the risk of being interpreted as they can’t afford to pay me, or they don’t value my big picture. Startups with their foosball, happy hours, and in-house baristas aren’t cutting it anymore. Fun and well-meaning perks are appreciated, but they cannot be a stand-in for otherwise terrible employee experience. Workplace and the employee experience of that space are incredibly important, and often overlooked.

According to Gensler’s 2019 workplace survey, here are some things that make employees’ work experience better and what helps them be more effective. 

  • 43% valued promoting team building and collaboration
  • 34% wanted their workplace to support their health and well-being
  • 33% access to latest technology/tools tied with knowledge sharing and best practices
  • 32% want their workplace to inspire creativity and innovation

We spend most of our waking hours during the week at work. Given that, the way our workspaces make us feel both inside and out is paramount. Offering things such as the ability to sit or stand at your desk, access to drinking water and natural light, even quiet spaces to take care of private phone calls or have a moment of silent reflection are not only lovely. These things are a boon to both how your people experience their space – mentally and physically.

As far as inspiring creativity and innovation, it hardly needs to be said that organizations that give their people the flexibility to do their best work and also take their peoples’ health and well-being seriously are primed to support the creativity and innovation that happens when your employees feel valued and supported.

Candidates want flexibility

In today’s recruiting atmosphere, offering added flexibility is not only a boon to recruiting, but it’s the future of work, full stop. There are many benefits of offering more flexibility, according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report. Unsurprisingly, flexibility can improve employee’s work-life balance, according to 77% of those surveyed. Following work-life balance, offering more flexibility encourages retention (54%) and attracts candidates (51%).

Flexibility can take many forms, from time to physical space to how the work gets done. When companies can show that they value how their employees’ jobs fit into a fuller picture of their lives, that’s a value that resonates deeply. Undefined hours are one way to offer flexibility around time, where your employees can schedule their day around familial responsibilities, rush hour traffic, or when they are at their most productive, creative best. 

Giving workers the ability to change their workspace throughout the day is essential. Just like you wouldn’t be successful trying to calculate your taxes in the middle of a train station, some tasks require specialized environments. Modern work shouldn’t involve eight hours of plugging away at a computer screen, any more than it should involve back-to-back meetings every day of the week. Productive and effective work gets done in a multitude of ways. 

According to Gensler’s study, most people don’t work in totally open or closed offices; their workplaces fall somewhere in between. Most respondents said they want more privacy and more collaborative spaces, too. We know what you’re thinking, but those two things are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to support team building and collaboration yet also support individual work.

A successful workplace is designed to allow for an ebb and flow of energy, that incorporates spaces for meetings of varying sizes, time and space for deep work without interruption, places for two-three people to collaborate or troubleshoot, and space for individual tasks or decompression. It’s this kind of workplace that shows the people who clock in the hours for you day after day just how much you value their contribution. 

Strategies for companies hiring talent in 2020

Investing in the experience of your potential employees in the recruiting process can pay off by improving the quality of your new hires by 70 percent. Additionally, that investment can also reduce employee retention over the long term. Valuing employee experience is a win-win in our book!

You’ve seen the numbers and have read the reports. More than ever, your company is committed to improving your workspace to increase your odds of finding the right people and then retaining them as long-term employees. Now what? 

Fortunately, this effort need not involve packing up the entire office and moving to a fully customized workspace. For MLBs wanting to offer variety and choice to their employees for a portion of their workweek, places like WeWork provide a handy solution. Imagine an on-call amenity-rich employee annex. We can help you supplement your existing workspace, enabling you to offer more flexibility, autonomy, health and well-being, and inspiration to your most valuable asset.

Come see how WeWork can help you recruit the right talent with flexible workspace solutions by scheduling a tour today!