Business owners often consider how the look and feel of their building can make their business more attractive to customers. It's equally important, perhaps even more important, to consider how the look and feel of your building affects your employees. Building layout and company policy have a huge impact on culture, and culture is one of the most important aspects that employees consider when they are deciding where to work and whether to stay.
Employees, especially millennials and other younger employees, are very issues-oriented. They are passionate about the world and want to know that they are doing good in it. They will become more invested in and more attached to companies that share their values and also work to do good in the world. You can express this through donations, company policies and even construction choices like rooftop solar to show that your company is invested in combating climate change.
Obviously it is also a good idea to express to your employees that you are invested in making their lives better as well, and sometimes consideration for employees and consideration for broader issues can coincide. Providing commuting assistance to employees encourages them to take public transport or carpool, which is good for the environment as well as your employees.
If you are already making changes to the physical workspace, you might be thinking about moving from cubicles and offices to an open-plan set up, or vice versa. Trends have shifted wildly over the years, and there isn't much conclusive research showing which style of workspace is best. Likely, the style of workspace will depend on the style of work you do and also the kind of employees you have attracted. As a general rule, it's a good idea to have a mix of private spaces like offices and cubicles as well as the more community spaces like you see in an open-plan office. That way, whatever your prospective employees prefer, they will see it. Additionally, with a little time and observation, you can see which spaces are most productive for your employees and adjust your office accordingly.
Many changes that make your company more appealing to employees are also just good business. Making sure that your business is tech-savvy and forward thinking shows employees that you are invested in the future, and it will make their lives easier, but it also makes your business more competitive in a world where technology is constantly changing and sits at the core of many of your greatest successes and failures.
Tech upgrades can also enable remote work options for your employees. These options are vitally important in the post-coronavirus world, where the option to work remotely might not be optional at all. In addition to being an important safety measure in our new reality, they are also good for employees who need more flexible options, like parents or those with health problems or those who have longer commutes. Remote work options are going to be an important benefit that many employees look for when they are looking at job opportunities.
Speaking of benefits, look at your company's benefit package. Health care benefits are not so much a draw as a basic requirement, so look at what you can do above and beyond the basics. What are your childcare options? What does the retirement plan look like? Are there any benefits to help pay for tuitions and other self-improvement efforts? Paid time off is good, but a flexible schedule is even better, if that's something that you can offer your employees. And even beyond the basics of healthcare, what are you doing to make your employees healthier?
Many companies offer perks like gym memberships or fitness programs to help employees stay healthy even when they are working from a desk most days. Don't be afraid to get creative though. Free spa days, free food or museum memberships are just a few perks that you might be able to organize for your employees. Ask your current employees what kind of benefits they would like most to see, if you're looking for ideas.
That final point is perhaps the most important one. Just as you regularly review your employees to see who is working well and where they can improve, you should provide an opportunity for your employees to freely express where you can do better as an employer. If you can demonstrate not only that you listen to employees' suggestions, but that you respond to those concerns, that will earn you employee loyalty like nothing else.
Company culture is shaped by many factors, including the overall look and feel of your building. All of these factors are worth considering, as they will affect the kind of employee you attract.
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