Culture | Strategy | Leadership | Office | 4 min read

Can a great workplace attract and retain great talent?


Can a great workplace attract and retain great talent?

If you research what matters most to candidates looking for work or what keeps high-performing people at organisations, you'll find a range of factors that are most critical.  These might include salary, leadership, co-workers, values alignment, flexibility, etc.  Whilst there is significant variation between what leaders prioritise and what staff prioritise, and whilst there's variation between industries and locations, a common principle is simply feeling valued.

How space can deliver value

Now that the labour market is tightening, organisations will have to work harder than ever to demonstrate how they can deliver employees the sort of value that engenders loyalty and commitment. One way to show value is through the very immediate medium of the built environment.

The tech sector has known the value of space to engage their workforce for decades. This is so embedded in the industry that a 'perk war' exists where companies outdo each other in regards to cool spaces, fun activities and edgy designs. And this approach is effective, playing a critical role in attracting and keeping talented people.

When Amicus partnered with leading fintech Zip Co, the company wanted to bring a fun, quirky style to a highly collaborative and social workspace, thus bringing to life the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit on which the organisation was founded and continues to thrive. The office realises this vision with bold graphics and colours, hanging chairs and collaborative nooks within a highly flexible design. You know it is going to be a great place to work as soon as you walk through the door.

As we move to hybrid work as a norm, our workspaces take on an even more important dimension. In a world where we can choose our work location from day to day, the office spaces have to show value to make the commute worthwhile. Desks farms, leaders tucked away in executive suites and unreliable technology aren't going to entice people back in or enable them to work effectively, particularly if the home environment has supported them well.

Attracting new staff and retaining people may also be about slightly different propositions. We need to be thinking about both that first interaction and experience with a potential recruit, and about the longer-term proposition of hanging on to them once they've joined. A critical aspect of this is how our spaces enable them to connect with others and do great work. Let's explore this a bit further.

Love at first sight - attracting new staff

So let's start with that first impression. When a person first walks into the office, they should immediately see and understand the organisation's purpose and culture. It is seen in unique design features, key technology and how they are greeted on arrival.

Creating a reputation and brand as a great place to work is a lot about what people see and experience when they come to the space and then how it sets up those first interactions. Contrast the experience of walking into an office with an imposing reception desk or walled-off entry, versus an open, buzzing break-out area with cutting-edge technology and a welcoming concierge.

A platform for high performance

Beyond the first impression, our offices are a platform to inspire people and enable them to connect with each other.

If your people love to come to the office, if it enables them to collaborate well or to focus if they need to, and it is an environment that engineers social connection, then it is delivering value to the person and the organisation. However, if your office is the same pre-COVID workspace that was designed to suit a pre-2020 way of working, then there's a risk its irrelevance will end up isolating and disenfranchising the staff you need to be connected and onboard.

Each organisation will need a different mix of individual, collaborative and social spaces and a technology suite to support how their people work best. This mix is also determined by how much time staff are spending in the office and which activities are best done face to face.

Bringing it Back to People

The role of our offices is ultimately to enable people to deliver great outcomes. Too many organisations fail to get the basics right and provide environments and technology which frustrate or thwart people's capacity to do good quality work. No one wants to work at a place like that.

A workplace that is an effective tool to attract and retain great people starts with the ambition and willpower to reinvent for the new world. From this place of ambition you can build a strategy and design that integrates your brand, is a key part of your employee value proposition and becomes a platform that enables people to be at their best.


Interested to know how our Workplace Strategy team can help? Visit our hybrid working dedicated website page or click here to book a chat with one of our experienced strategists.






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