Workplace environment has recently become a pretty important piece of the whole employment package. Job seekers scour career sites and social media pages to get a glimpse of the offices and dress codes at potential employers, and candidates take time to scope out the hallways and look for personality clues when called to interviews.
Cultural fit plays a major role in an employee's success at an organization, and one very big indicator of workplace culture is the workplace itself. When we think about culturally engaging workplaces, our minds often jump to standing desks, napping rooms, casual clothing, and open-concept floor plans. Luckily, no matter what your workplace is like, you can turn it into a valuable recruitment tool.
1. Bring Variety to the Space
Variety is the best way to engage and satisfy a wide range of workers. Introverted employees often require the ability to disengage from chatter and high-traffic areas in order to do their best work, while extraverts will feel disconnected and unmotivated if they aren't near their teammates.
If the office is your canvas: Create levels in more ways than one. Introduce sit/stand desks so employees can change posture for better focus when need be. Bring in levels of solitude by setting up areas where teams can meet to brainstorm or break away from noise and work alone.
If the office has stricter guidelines: Use communal areas to your advantage. Invite teams to hold morning meetings in the lounge or on the patio. Schedule a five-minute gab session once or twice a week where everyone stands up and talks over their cubicle walls. Opening up a spare cubicle as a place to stash sweet treats can make for impromptu run-ins that spur conversations and remind everyone who sits only a wall away.
2. Decorate in Ways Management Will Love
Find a way to bring inspiration to your office by using the company's brand. Color is one way to do this, but bear in mind that not all colors are created equal: According to a University of Texas study, gray, beige, and white colors induce feelings of sadness in women, while purple and orange tend to affect men poorly.
If the office is your canvas: Consider painting an accent wall or devoting space to an oversized vinyl logo. If that's a little much, order frames in a brand color for artwork or buy artwork that incorporates your color palette. These will bring some color to your walls without committing you to a weekend of painting.
If the office has stricter guidelines: Highlight your organization's mantra by designing banners that feature your mission statement or values. This is a small touch that will break up the monotony of white walls without making any permanent changes to the building. If possible, consider purchasing rugs and other accents that add color but can easily be eliminated if needed.
3. Take Control of Your First Impression
Your space does a lot in the way of welcoming or turning away visitors, including your applicants. For example, traditional offices have receptionist desks or very clear front entrances, and the layout tends to point visitors in the direction of where they should go. Some companies share office space or buildings, which means their logos might not even be above their front doors. Open-concept offices might make it near impossible to even hear when someone walks in or knocks on a door!
Whatever your unique space is, it's important you look at it through the eyes of someone who has never been through its door before.
If the office is your canvas: Create a welcoming ritual. Start by making sure your logo is visible from the outside of the building and/or in the hallway. Not only is this great for brand recognition, but it also helps candidates find the place! Then, create a reception area if you don't already have one. Simply work out a way to place an employee's desk near the door so they can quickly greet anyone who visits. If push comes to shove, propping the door open when you know someone will be coming in will at least save them the trouble of wondering whether they should knock first or not.
If the office has stricter guidelines: If you don't have a receptionist, can't rearrange your office, and/or have very little control over how your candidates will be greeted, be proactive. First, email the candidate detailed instructions on how to find the building, where they can park, the best phone number to reach you, and any other pertinent information they will need. Worst comes to worst, arrange meetings so that you or a coworker can personally greet each candidate at the door. A little planning can go a long way, especially when it comes to a candidate's first impression of your office!
Your office environment can strongly impact the decisions candidates make about your organization. No matter what structure you're working with, there's a way to bring out the best in your workforce – and boost recruitment in the process!
A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.
Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.