Jessica Estes / September 12, 2018
As of August, the unemployment rate was 2.4% in Cumberland County, Maine. At this level, economists will tell you that everyone who wants a job has one. So attracting talent means, in most cases, attracting people who already have jobs. It also means that for many companies, attracting and keeping talent is the first “T” defined in the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. While your reputation, website, salary, and benefits package are all important facets of your recruiting game, don’t overlook your workspace. Here are five things to consider if you’re looking for a new location or planning a remodel:
Despite the seasonal climate here in Maine, we have plenty of cyclists in our midst and the number of commuters via bicycle has grown 51% nationwide from 2000 to 2016, a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Having the infrastructure to support that kind of commute could be the deciding factor for a potential employee. It also conveys that your company is environmentally conscious.
Does your space accommodate flexible hours? This means excellent outdoor lighting, 7-day-per-week snow removal, parking in close proximity to the building, and HVAC hours that accommodate evening or weekend work if necessary. If your employees value flexible hours, these details are critical. Make sure your people feel safe and comfortable working the hours that fit their schedule.
Provide private space for all employees, especially new Moms. Leaving a new baby with a caregiver to return to work is tough no matter how much a woman likes her job. Make that transition as easy as possible on her and provide a comfortable lactation room. Other private spaces should be made available for people to make phone calls, have sensitive discussions or just shut out distractions while focusing on an important project.
Create a space that illustrates and honors your company’s culture. The little details of design can be overlooked in the grand scheme of building out new space and/or moving. Your operations team will likely be overwhelmed with the process. Hire a consultant to assist with space planning and interior design. These details go well beyond wall color and carpet choices – the small thoughtful touches do make a difference. When you walk a prospective hire through your space, you’ll want to be able to point out the things that make your company a special place to work.
Do you need to be in a downtown location? If so, “What’s the parking situation here?” should be one of the first questions you ask when touring office spaces and it should be factored into the overall budget. Downtown vacancy is at or near an all-time low right now, so parking garages are full as well. Consider whether you want to ask employees to walk several blocks or pay for parking. Maybe you just need a few key people downtown with a larger presence in the suburbs.
There are many logistical decisions to be made when designing your space, but don’t let that stop you from getting creative and thinking outside the normal parameters of what office space can be. You could offer a fully-stocked kitchen, yoga rooms, a pet friendly atmosphere… even nap pods. Picture your perfect new hire. What would entice them to join the company?