Employees are constantly being given advice on how to approach a job search. However, it’s equally important for businesses to take the time to properly create work environments that will actively attract talented individuals — even if those individuals are not currently looking to change positions.

What more, each workspace should be meticulously designed to retain quality personnel for the long haul. With the average cost per hire sitting at a considerable $4,129 and taking upwards of 42 days, the investments involved with creating an attractive workspace can quickly pay for themselves. With that in mind, the importance of improving existing workspaces with an eye towards both attracting and retaining top applicants is incredibly important.

Going Above and Beyond

If you’re interested in genuinely attracting new applicants, you have to use an “above and beyond” mindset as you set about improving your workspace. You won’t be able to attract quality, trained talent — known as sophisticated job seekers or “purple squirrels” by recruiters — by doing the bare minimum. This is especially true in this day and age when talent is at a premium. Workers notice when a boss takes care to provide a healthy work environment, and they’re more likely to navigate in that direction.

It’s the small things like encouraging breaks that open up the world to a more comfortable — and desireable — place to work.

For example, nearly 20% of workers in North America are concerned that their employer will form a negative opinion of them if they simply take a regular lunch break. This kind of fear hardly breeds a culture of trust and productivity — instead, bosses should be actively encouraging workers to take well-earned breaks. While this respect in the matter of breaks is important all on its own, it should also be applied throughout the workplace wherever possible. Reminding employees of their autonomy and encouraging them to take note of their own mental health will help to avoid burnout, keep morale high, and even more. So while your employees will benefit, so will the business they work for. It’s the small things like encouraging breaks that open up the world to a more comfortable — and desireable — place to work.

Creating a Comfortable Space

Larger companies should take a page out of the book of the coworking space movement in order to ensure that their offices are properly set up for success. For starters, there are the basic coworking essentials that include:

  • Ergonomically sound desks, chairs, and/or standing mats.
  • Access to fast and dependable WIFI.
  • Access to management or team leaders for quick training or assistance.
  • Amenities like a clean, well-kept restroom, breakroom, etc.

However, many coworking spaces also include a variety of other amenities aimed at improving an employee’s work experience beyond the simple necessities. These can include things like communal kitchens for breaks or to prepare food, coffee that is both of high quality and easily accessible at all times, and lounge areas where employees can rest during breaks. At times they’ll even include on-site gyms, networking opportunities, and workshops for further skill development.

Incorporating any of these into your company’s strategy can help increase the overall quality and environment of your workspace. In addition, a company that allows employees to work remotely from other locations may also want to consider offering to cover the costs for off-site employees to have memberships at local coworking spaces near their homes as an added perk.

Be Mindful of Personal Security

In the midst of the #MeToo movement it’s critical the employers take the time to make sure that their workplaces are free from the threat of sexual harassment. This can take multiple forms, from inappropriate innuendos and sexual advances to more subtle behaviors such as withholding rewards or punishing employees due to a lack of physical favors. It goes without saying that any and all forms of sexual harassment should be swiftly dealt with and steps should be taken to ensure that all threats, on any level of the company, are removed.

Another practice that can attract quality employees is your company’s policy towards the handling of personal records and sensitive information. While it is wise to keep important information such as an employee’s personnel records or timecards for a reasonable amount of time (usually at least three years), make sure to dispose of any and all sensitive information about an employee as soon as possible. In an era where identity theft and hacking of larger companies is increasingly more common, the knowledge that a potential employee’s personal information won’t be hanging around your systems indefinitely can send two messages:

First, it shows that they won’t be at risk of losing their personal information in the event of a security breach. Secondly, it also sends the message that you are a responsible employer that takes your employees’ personal information and sensitive data seriously.

Gamification and Reward Systems

One clever way to increase your company’s appeal is to incorporate gamification and rewards into your workplace. The former is a versatile tool that can yield impressive results. Gamification involves incorporating elements like cooperative and competitive work goals, scoring systems, discovery and learning opportunities, and other interactions commonly found in games into your daily routine. When employees are competing against each other or collectively against themselves it can be a powerful motivator to achieve greater success.

Azuga, a fleet tracking company, explains how they implement gamification successfully:

“To put gamification into practice, you need to ensure a few things. First, there has to be a gaming mindset, and a storyline, and similar game characteristics. We are then going to bring these elements into a severe environment—a vehicle being driven on the road in our case. Then, it’s important to get in the feelings associated with playing a game—partnering, competitiveness, discovery, learning, interaction—these are important to feel like a player.”

As for rewards, a good reward system typically compensates either an employee’s behavior or their productivity and performance. Start by defining what behaviors and results you want to see from your employees. Then you can implement a reward system that can vary from monetary or equity ownership to a variety of perks and benefits. While the latter can be tailored to your unique situation, it’s also critically important that you do your research and make sure that you’re offering compensation that is not only competitive but supersedes that offered by other companies in your industry — after all, there’s still that group of already-employed people working elsewhere that you might be interested in hiring, yourself.

Attracting Talent

Rewards, gamification, comfortable workspaces, and respect for your employee’s safety are all excellent incentives for potential employees. They equip your recruiters with the tools to come up with inventive ways to draw qualified talent into your company, whether said talent is looking for a new job or not. In addition, having improvements like these in place helps to keep an eye towards the future, as it can enable you to retain a quality talent pool for the long term.

Regardless of the specific ways you go about improving your space, the most important thing is remembering to maintain that “above and beyond” mentality that will make your company stand out from the competition and attract talent with ease.


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