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Talent Attraction & Retention

How to Recruit & Retain Top Talent Through Workplace Design in 2021

May 18th, 2021 | 9 min. read

How to Recruit & Retain Top Talent Through Workplace Design in 2021

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Good help can be hard to find, but it certainly doesn't have to be. In a world where securing top talent is a competitive advantage, employers spend too much time devising ways to attract (and retain) an exceptional workforce. 

However, most employers underestimate the importance of workplace design and its impact on recruiting top talent. If your company is struggling to attract and retain employees, it may be time to rethink your recruitment strategy and workspace. 

Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, we believe people are every organization's greatest asset, which is why you need a well-designed workspace that attracts and retains the best talent in your industry. 

In this article, we'll take a look at the top five ways you can design a workspace that's a magnet for top-performing talent and ensures they're happy and productive, now and for years to come. 

5 Design Tips for recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

1. Build a Better Workplace Brand and Culture

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Attracting and retaining employees is hard work, and it's not cheap either. In fact, most estimates show that hiring a new employee can cost you thousands of dollars, which is why it makes the most financial sense to find the right fit the first time around. 

So, how exactly do you attract high-quality candidates? How do you make sure they're a perfect fit for your company? Of course, prospects are attracted to high salaries, benefits and perks, but they also want inspiring, exciting and innovative workspaces.

A great workplace speaks for itself. It speaks volumes about your company and who you want to be. It can also be a powerful tool for attracting quality candidates. And, on top of that, nothing communicates your company brand and culture more clearly than your office space. 

When you present a well-designed and branded workplace to the world, it sends a message. It reveals your company's processes, priorities and personality. Branded spaces also indicate success, thus improving employee recruitment and retention efforts (as well as client perceptions). 

Design Considerations 

  • Choose a solution with a secure platform and a wide range of connectivity options like Crestron DigitalMedia to send content anywhere
  • Incorporate customized video walls and digital wayfinding to engage your audience and draw attention to employee achievements, company news and upcoming events 
  • Make a splash with creative brand-centric design in common areas and to visually reinforce your culture and make a lasting first impression

2. Promote Wellbeing in the Workplace

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Wellbeing is a competitive advantage in today's business world. After all, people want to be happy at work. They want a fulfilling role that challenges them, offers growth opportunities, and most importantly, makes them happy.

But, the answer is more complex than offering free fruit, on-site fitness centers or any other gimmicks. Instead, it's all about taking a more emotional approach to wellbeing and creating a physical work environment that supports people's physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing

At the most basic level, employees want a workplace that prioritizes their health and safety. They want ergonomic workstations, natural light, good air quality, access to quiet zones and the ability to personalize their workspace. 

In addition, people want more choice and control over when, where and how they work. To be highly engaged and productive, they need an ecosystem of spaces to support the various modes of work they do, including focused work, collaboration, socializing and learning. 

These destinations should offer a wide range of solutions that encourage people to sit, stand and move throughout the day. They should also provide access to various mixed-presence experiences (both physical and virtual) to augment human interaction. 

Design Considerations

  • Create a welcoming environment with authentic design elements, artifacts and materials to inspire creativity
  • Design for physical and emotional comfort through posture options and comfortable proximity to other people and objects
  • Provide spaces that encourage people to engage with integrated technology and offer interactive ways to form ideas together
  • Select materials inspired by nature, such as wood that embraces natural imperfections or stone that mimics natural landscapes
  • Install glass wall partitions to increase the amount of natural light your office receives 

3. Balance Privacy and Collaboration

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Collaboration has become the big engine for business growth and innovation. People are facing brand-new problems that require sharing information and brainstorming in new ways. Unfortunately, collaboration can also stall progress if employees don't have access to private spaces where they can focus, decompress and recharge.

The more people work collaboratively, the more important it is to also have time alone, be free from distractions and think about the challenges at hand. According to Steelcase, while togetherness at work is vital for creativity and inspiration, it can also take a toll on employee engagement and wellbeing. 

As we already mentioned, there is no single type of optimal work setting. The open floor plan isn't to blame, and reverting to all private offices isn't a solution either. Instead, employees need a balance between the two. 

The best way to support people is to provide the ability to move between privacy and collaboration, having that rhythm between coming together to think about a problem and then going away to let those ideas gestate. 

Design Considerations

  • Support both spontaneous and planned needs for privacy with phone booths and pods
  • Provide nomadic height-adjustable workstations so people can focus or work one-on-one with a coworker while maintaining privacy in an open office
  • Use a solution like Steelcase Flex to create destinations in the open plan and define space so teams can create together without distractions
  • Let workers manage visibility and availability with a broad range of boundary options like screens, partitions, furniture or plants 
  • Prevent noisy disruptions with a direct-field sound masking system like Steelcase QtPro or stream music legally with a solution like Crestron Sonos Sound Machine 

4. Provide Flexibility In and Out of the Workplace

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Workplace design can bridge the gap between physical office presence and remote work, especially in a post-COVID world where organizations are adopting hybrid work-from-home strategies for better work-life balance. Because of this, employees have the freedom to work whenever and however they like. 

But, increasing choice doesn't mean everyone works outside the office. A vast majority of workers still want to spend a significant amount of time in the office due to close proximity to teammates, access to resources and an overall sense of community. 

Choice means having the right spaces and tools for the job at hand. For this reason, people need an agile (and flexible) workspace so they can make quick adjustments on-demand, as well as flexible furniture solutions that allow for easy reconfiguration. 

These spaces must also support technology like large-scale collaboration devices and videoconferencing software. This way, distributed teams can still collaborate easily, regardless of physical location, and build real human connections.

Design Considerations 

  • Incorporate modular furniture solutions like Steelcase Flex, so you can easily and quickly rearrange desks, tables, carts and markerboards on sort notice 
  • Opt for modular walls that give you the flexibility to reconfigure your workspace and adapt to changing needs  
  • Choose a conferencing solution like CrestronFlex with touch-screen capabilities and the ability to collaborate on any platform for seamless collaboration  
  • Use similar tools and technology controls in all spaces, both on-site and at home, to help distributed teams collaborate and communicate effectively  
  • Install videoconferencing solutions and collaboration tools onto all employee desktops, laptops and mobile devices  
  • Provide co-creation tools, such as large-scale collaboration devices, that make ideas visible and allow everyone to contribute to and interact with content  

5. Improve the Work Experience with Workplace Amenities

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It's not always an option to offer a prospective employee a higher salary or more benefits. Fortunately, we live in a time where people are choosing where to work based on perks beyond financial compensation.

According to Robert Half, free food and coffee are one of the top persuasive perks to increase employee recruitment and retention. But, you could take this one step further by creating a welcoming destination that offers snacks, refreshments and a dynamic space to relax. 

For example, Steelcase's WorkCafé is a dynamic space that connects people with colleagues, their work and their organization. It maximizes underutilized corporate real estate by transforming your cafeteria into formal and informal destinations for connection, collaboration, focus and innovation. 

Additionally, the WorkCafé provides access to healthy food choices and coffee, as well as integrated technologies, so users can take a break from their usual workspace or connect with colleagues. 

Design Considerations

  • Offer a variety of snacks and beverages so employees can recharge and find nourishment throughout the day 
  • Promote a clean aesthetic and proper hygiene with stainless-steel dispensers
  • Make nourishment available during and outside of meal hours to support varied and extended work schedules
  • Leverage integrated technology to organize and deliver information, creating an enterprise-wide link for employees
  • Support wellbeing by providing amenities for people to prepare, bring and store their own food
  • Nurture employee health and safety by providing easy access to first aid supplies 

How Can You Recruit and Retain Top Talent Through Workplace Design?

When it comes to workplace design, one size does not fit all. Each and every organization is different, so the ideal workspace will vary from company to company and team to team. 

In a highly competitive job market, candidates now expect to work in an environment that allows them to maximize their potential. To create this type of workspace, it's absolutely crucial that you listen to your current employees and learn what they like (and don't like) about your current office space. 

By soliciting and listening to this feedback, you'll gain a better understanding of what your employees need. You'll also be able to design a workspace that improves productivity, drives innovation and growth and helps you secure top talent. 

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Design and build a workspace your employees love, now and for years to come.

Connect with a Workspace Partner to learn how we can help you select the best supplies, furniture and technology. You can book a virtual meeting with us at your earliest convenience.

In the meantime, check out 16 Critical Issues Your Workspace Can Solve for You, so you can be completely confident you're building a workspace that solves your business issues and works for your employees.