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How to Improve Your Talent Attraction & Retention With Office Design

Updated: Jan 2

Office Design: The Key to Hiring & Keeping Great Staff

Are you finding it difficult to find and hire the kind of people you need in your business? Is it a struggle to engage and keep your best staff? If so, you’re not alone. A recent study of 400 CEOs found 49% had this problem.


Attracting and retaining great talent is essential to the success of your company. Without great staff, your business will be less innovative, productive, and profitable. As a design and build company, we speak to many companies each week about improving their offices. A very common challenge companies are having is attracting and retaining talent. Your office has a role to play in solving this challenge.


In this article, we’ll walk you through 5 of our top considerations when we are designing workspaces for companies that are struggling to hire & keep the kind of people they need. By the end, you’ll be able to assess your current office in each of these 5 areas and decide if they need improvement.


On Brand Design

The impression that prospective candidates get when they walk into your office for the first time is absolutely essential. First impressions take just 7 seconds to form and are rarely reversed. As a result, you need to make sure that the first impression you provide in your office is a good one.


More than just a first impression, your office design also affects whether potential recruits decide to work for your company. 79% of recruits say that well-designed office environments make them more likely to accept a position.


As well as being visually impressive, your office design also needs to be an accurate representation of your company and culture. Otherwise, you risk giving candidates the wrong impression about your company. Even if they join, they are more likely to leave your company quickly.


On-brand design also has a role to play in retaining your current staff. Regardless of whether your office is on-brand or not, it plays a huge role in the day-to-day work experience for your staff. As a result, if your office design is off-brand, you will see higher staff churn. 40% of job leavers cite the reason as being related to engagement and culture.


How to Improve Talent Attraction & Retention With On-Brand Design:

Many people think of office branding as a logo in the reception and a few walls painted in the brand colours. However, office branding is much more than that. If your brand is what people think about your company, your office brand is what your staff think about the office. This includes everything from the location of the office to the wall colours to the coffee they drink.


Location is a key part of your workspace brand. Certain cities or boroughs are well-known as hubs for certain industries - for example, media companies in Soho. All the finishes throughout your space also affect the design and brand, from the carpet to the ceiling. Furniture has a crucial role to play, as it is the element of your workplace that your people interact with the most.


By ensuring your workspace is an accurate reflection of your brand, you will help attract candidates and retain existing staff. To learn more, read How to Create an On-Brand Office.


Encourage Connection

Connection between team members is an absolutely crucial part of staff retention. A lot of the value of the office is in the people, not the place. Encouraging socialising between your staff is a great way to build shared commitment. If your people enjoy spending time with their colleagues, their job satisfaction will increase. As a result, they will be less likely to leave.


How to Improve Talent Attraction & Retention By Encouraging Connection

The most effective way to encourage socialising between your people is to create a designated breakout space in your office that is designed exclusively for relaxation and networking. This will send a clear signal to your people that connecting with coworkers is valued and encouraged at your company. It will also help to create a clear distinction between work and breakout spaces. Collaboration spaces are also valuable to help your people build stronger working relationships.


Design for Wellbeing

The physical and mental wellbeing of your staff should be one of your top priorities. Aside from being the right thing to do, improving wellbeing in your workspace will help improve the job satisfaction, tenure, and performance of your people. If your staff wellbeing is poor, you staff retention will also be poor. 26% of job leavers attribute their decision to wellbeing and work-life balance.


Since the pandemic, candidates and staff will not only compare your office to other offices but to remote working opportunities as well. Staff wellbeing is an opportunity to set yourself apart in the war for talent.


How to Improve Talent Attraction & Retention By Designing for Wellbeing

There are many different ways you can improve the wellbeing of your people through office design. The simplest way is by adding plants throughout your office. Plants improve air quality and make the workspace more pleasant, leaning into the biophilic design trend. Research has shown plants in the office could increase productivity by 15%.


There are also other ways you can introduce biophilic design in your office – maximising the use of natural finishes, such as wooden flooring and living walls will also improve your staff wellbeing. To learn more about wellbeing and office design, read about The Top 5 Office Amenities to Improve Staff Wellbeing.


Enable Customisation

Every staff member is unique and has unique needs from their workspace. Unfortunately, you can’t make your office perfect for everyone. However, you can design your workspace to enable customisation. This will allow your staff to adapt their workspace to suit the way they work. Giving staff control over their environment has also been shown to increase engagement and job satisfaction.


How to Improve Talent Attraction & Retention By Enabling Customisation

Having a variety of working environments within your office is a crucial part of customisation. This will enable your people to work in the type of space that suits them best. If all your office has is desks and a small kitchen area, your staff will have no control.


Where possible, you should also use modular furniture and movable screens and whiteboards. These will enable your staff to change the office around as they need. Giving your staff as much control as possible over their environment will increase their job satisfaction, which will in turn reduce your staff turnover.


Improve Technology

Office workers are now reliant on technology for almost everything they do. Between their laptops, phones, and tablets, personal technology is now an essential tool for productivity and communication. Much like in other aspects of the workspace experience, your staff will judge your technology against their home technology as well as other offices. 64% of staff say office technology lags behind what they have at home.


Because your people are so reliant on technology and are so used to it working flawlessly, any shortcomings will be very frustrating. As a result, their engagement will decrease, and they will be more likely to leave your company.


How to Improve Talent Attraction & Retention By improving Technology

The modern office is an agile environment, with a variety of workspaces to suit a variety of tasks. Staff move around your office constantly, depending on their teams and tasks. As a result, you need fast and secure wifi, as well as charging points located throughout your office.


Video suites are also necessary for convenient hybrid meetings with remote staff. Smart access control systems will help ensure your space is kept secure. Most modern systems can be managed from staff phones, creating a convenient experience. Any outdated or unsuitable technology will create friction and frustration for your people, and increase your staff turnover.


Creating a Space that Improves Your Talent Attraction & Retention

Attracting and retaining talent is such a crucial component of your company's success that you must do everything you can to improve it. High-performing staff are 400% more productive than the average worker. Making sure your workspace appeals to high performers is essential. Investing in your workspace to reduce staff turnover is also a good investment. It takes an average of 33% of a worker’s average salary to find, hire, and train a replacement.


Now that you know about these 5 key elements of attracting and retaining talent, you are now in a better position to decide if your office design needs improving. To learn more about why your office design affects your talent attraction and retention, read 4 Ways a Great Workspace Can Help Talent Attraction and Retention.

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