Can office design help win the war for talent?

First impressions often leave a mark, especially when walking into an office or meeting with a potential partner or employer for the first time. So how to attract an retain talented employees?

Companies looking to recruit new talent are bound to look beyond pure candidate evaluation and think about how their business is perceived by potential new employees.

The ideal first impression is more than just a smiling recruiter. The office plays a key role in how a candidate will remember a business, its values and ethos – and ultimately will impact on whether they decide to take up a job or not. Capexus examined the role of office design in the war for talent, collecting insights from several HR experts.

Facts and data about attracting and retaining talent

The role of the office in recruitment is well known. Surveys by British design company K2 Space have repeatedly shown that the look and feel of office furnishings are often a priority when choosing a job, especially for millennials. Survey research shows, among other things, that:

  • Half of respondents consider the room in which their interview took place to be a key factor in choosing their future employer;
  • 39% of respondents cited boring office design as one of the reasons for leaving their former position
  • 21% of respondents were disappointed with office technology when going in for an interview with a potential employer.

Office design can therefore entice candidates, but it can also discourage them.

The face of corporate culture for talent retention

Each company tries to express its values and ethos through marketing activities, collateral and online promotion. But the physical presence of a business is arguably the strongest tool to express its corporate culture. The choice of colours, furniture and the overall layout of an office will say a lot about what the candidate can expect from the company.

An open office with plenty of natural light and living plants suggests that the company cares about the health and mental well-being of its employees. Unusual colours and original decorative elements can highlight the importance of creativity at work. On the contrary, the grey cocoons and hard boundaries between employees and management may seem a bit like a dystopian sci-fi movie these days.

"The newly renovated offices in the Praga Office & Garden building, plenty of meeting rooms, industrial design and the automotive history of a place that resonates perfectly with our company are one of a number of benefits we can offer employees."

Renáta Klementová, DoDo's HR Director

Authenticity is behind attracting and retaining talent

A careful office design is immediately recognizable. Everything from the layout to the furniture will immediately reveal how much effort and thought has gone into the design and fit out process and how much of it was built around the needs of employees.

"The work environment has a huge impact on productivity and creativity, which is why we see this issue as very important. We recently celebrated the opening of offices in Benešov, where our customer care centre is located. Soon we will open new office spaces in Karlín, where other teams will be based. An important aspect is definitely the informal environment. Other popular elements would be places for informal meetings, brainstorming or relaxation zones and a smaller number of glass meeting rooms. The work environment reflects the company's culture. It is important for us that people feel good in it."

Giang Nguyen Thu, HR Business Partner at Aukro

Recruitment and loyalty

Office design is an extremely important factor long after recruitment. A beautiful, functional and comfortable office doesn’t just attract employees – it also retains them. A great way to ensure long-term loyalty in terms of office design is to offer everyone enough flexibility. It also proves that the company is not rigid towards employees and offers the possibility of change.

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Photos Authors: Petr Andrlík, Alexander Dobrovodský, Adam Fuchs & Lukáš Prokůpek, Martina Prášková