Your workplace can be a strategic resource


Talent recruitment and retention have been a major focus for many companies in West Michigan. To be successful in these areas, we tell our clients they must consider many underlying factors.

Locally, the unemployment rate is below 4 percent in Grand Rapids as the slow-but-steady recovery of the U.S. economy continues. Generationally, an employee’s average tenure at one company is shrinking while the millennial generation and its changing priorities now make up the largest generation in the workforce.

Companies are realizing that physical office space is no longer just a place they go to work but rather how work happens. Executives once looked at the office as only a cost center, but now the environment of the office space is a strategic way to attract talent and cultivate an engaged workforce. When going head to head for talent, your office space is not only the first impression you make but also an extension of your brand and culture. Consider the impact of giving tours to prospective employees through a work space that creates an environment of collaboration and creativity.

To embrace the new office environment the following are key:

Tear down those walls, just not all of them

The new trend of an open and collaborative work environment has added to the productivity and creativity of the office. However, before you tear everything down, you need to fully understand your company’s culture. It is essential to have head-down work areas when the task requires it.

Zone out in a good way

Be conscious of the different ways people work. Group similar positions together and create an environment that is best suited for them. Take into account the different work styles between employees and among tasks.

Plan for the future

Lease terms are getting longer with landlords willing to invest in the buildings, but that often requires tenants signing for a longer term. Therefore, having a flexible work environment to adjust to the changes in the way people work is imperative. You may want to look into furniture versus hard walls.

Remove barriers to technology

Power, power, power…a flexible workspace has many benefits but is useless if the devices that power the employee are not there. Until there is ubiquitous, cordless power, make sure you add power to the essential workspace and common gathering areas.

Be a brand ambassador

Your office space is an extension of your exterior brand and helps create your culture. This is your company’s “home” and it should feel comfortable but productive. Prospective employees do “comparison shopping” when evaluating opportunities.

Go beyond recycling

The millennial generation needs a larger sense of purpose beyond a business’s bottom line. Creating systems that go beyond the typical recycling can provide this purpose, including green initiatives and community involvement.

As employees are evolving and changing their expectations, companies must also evolve to recruit and retain young talent, but also balance it with the preference of older works. The method and message of delivery of this change is equally important.

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