Workplace design is an important part of employer branding because it contributes to the vibe and culture of the your company. The personality of a company is often first communicated to potential employees and customers by the big and small design details of the workplace space. These design details can attract or put off potential new hires.
Examples of workplace design and employer brand matches
The corporate offices at Polo Ralph Lauren, one of the first companies to truly embody the lifestyle concept, is a perfect example. The office building is in a very well known, exclusive neighborhood in NYC. The main lobby of corporate headquarters has a lush, dark green carpet, expensive, old world antiques, the highest quality leather furniture, and an elegant, multi-story stairway leading to employee work areas. The look of the office, especially the main lobby, is in keeping with the regal feel of the Ralph Lauren ads in magazines. The company attracts employees who are inspired by and enjoy being around classical luxury on a daily basis.
Google is another example of how a company can use workplace design to illustrate their corporate culture. Google’s workplace culture is very different from Ralph Lauren and their chosen interior design illustrates this. Google’s space is infused with a vibrantly colored, industrial street style, and modern art, which appeals to the hip, techy crowd it wishes to attract for employees. Google was one of the first companies to challenge the conventional thinking of how an office should be designed. They encourage play and the open exchange of ideas. Google does this by indulging employees in free food and a fun environment using surfboard tables, firemen poles, and igloo-style meeting pods, among a variety of other items to extend their brand personality.
The HR role in workplace design
While HR may not be picking the workplace building or all of the office furniture, there are several small details that can be incorporated into design and workplace culture easily as a way to illustrate the corporate personality and attract the like-minded transferee.
Think of the Five Senses
An easy way to think about this is to start with the five senses.
Let’s begin with sight. What feeling does your company’s main lobby give upon entering? Is it old world luxury, millennial hip, or modern minimalist? Each of these styles gives off a different feeling and emotion. Your company may not fit into one of these specific categories; however, have you thought about what feeling your company’s design sense exudes? Does the receptionist have the personality and flair that would appeal to a potential new hire? Do the colors and furniture design match the company personality? A bright office with skateboard tables will attract a different person than a minimalist, modern office space which is mainly white.
What are the sounds that one hears in the office? Is there loud punk music playing, soft classical, or white noise machines? Some companies even have their own signature music. This all started in the nightclub world with Coste and Buddha Bar mixes and now stores, restaurants and companies have followed suit. Does your company wish to encourage silence or keep the energy up with the sounds of modern bands in the background? Each option portrays a vastly different feel for someone walking through the space and will attract a different potential new employee.
When it comes to smell, what scent would best describe your company’s personality? The scent of scandwood is much different than citrus or rose. Some companies are using diffusers to bring a sense of calm and serenity to their office space. Citrus is a scent that is often used to uplift the spirit and encourage concentration, while lavender can be calming. What scent would best describe your company’s culture? Even if you are not planning on using a diffuser, it is an interesting idea to ponder.
Taste. If your office has a kitchen, what type of food will you offer? Are you a company that values wellness and wishes to attract health conscious employees? If this is the case, it might be a nice idea to provide complementary fruit and vegetables, healthy nuts and high quality filtered water on a regular basis. Or perhaps you may offer company healthy breakfasts once a week.
Comfort and touch are another sense that comes into play. The fabrics you choose for your common area couches and chairs can also say something about your company goals. Will people be encouraged to spend time on them, or are they there just for decoration? If you wish for people to really use them, aim for soft and comfortable fabrics.
Whatever the personality of your company or the type of employee you are trying to attract, there are many different choices and ways to express your office personality. Our aim is to inspire you to think about these details as a fun way to extend your employer brand into the details of everyday life for your employees, and everyone who comes to your office.
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