Today, prospective employees, business partners and customers can access your work culture within a few clicks. A truly inspiring work space can make people want to like, pin, snap, tweet and share your message with others. When your work environment matches your social presence, it adds credibility to your message.
Each client we work with has highly different cultures, so one size DOES NOT fit all when it comes to workplace design. Many of the examples I am using today are just those–examples. Finding a solution that works for you, and supports your cultural goals is the most important end game. As you read this, think about how your workplace supports your culture and what it says about your organization. Are your current employees excited about their workplace, do they share and help promote your culture? In a world of hashtags and likes, are you the #WorkplaceOfChoice.
Showing Off Your Brand - Infusing brand into your space helps employees see and feel the greater mission and impact of their organization and instills awareness that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Integrating brand messaging in meaningful ways in your workplace design plays an important role in attracting talent. I asked my fellow team member, Phil Meyer, about his decision in finding the right architecture company when relocating halfway across the country from Washington DC to Milwaukee. Unprompted, he said “I was blown away by the workplace. The exposed historic materials, clean contemporary lines and natural daylighting create a dynamic and energetic atmosphere. The open office layout allows me to work more efficiently with team members and fosters informal interactions with coworkers. Not a day goes by that I regret my decision.” As an architecture firm, this initial reaction and response to our culture from a prospective employee is exactly what we are going for.
We recently worked with Menasha Corporation on their new headquarters to help them elevate their position as the innovative industry leader in packaging, printing, brand management and pack-out & fulfillment services. In their new modern work environment, environmental branding is infused throughout the space to inspire employees. A client engagement center and history wall helps clients visualize product placement solutions in real-time, personifying their innovative nature, while connecting clients to their strong history. As employees, visitors and potential hires visit their new corporate headquarters, they engage with the brand throughout the space, enriching their experience and connection with Menasha’s innovative culture.
Letting the Community In - We increasingly hear clients say they want their workplace to not only meet their needs, but serve their community as well. One example is our client Acuity Insurance (a top 10 in Fortune Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For in 2017). Acuity encourages their employees to get excited about their workspace by creating zones within their building that are specifically designed for hosting after hour and weekend events – from ferris wheels, to climbing walls, they encourage unique engagement experiences with the local community.
Another client, M3 Insurance, recognized that their space sat empty on nights and weekends and wanted to contribute to their community by offering public use areas. Designing their space to include a lobby area with retractable glass doors, adjacent conference rooms and a coffee bar allows it to transform into an open event space. Animatedly discussing the new space, Mike Victorson, President & CEO said, “We felt that connection outside the walls was just as important to have as within our walls. We went a little wild, a year after opening, our facilities person said, ‘Mike we need to stop for a while - we just had over 150 events in the first 12 months!’”
Exuding Transparency - I am fortunate to work for a company that prides itself on transparency. Whether it’s regularly discussing our financial wins and losses across the firm, sharing project lessons on our intranet, or the very open office layout, this core value is clearly demonstrated across our firm. Being a transparent organization can be reflected not only by your culture and outward social presence but also in your internal building design. The use of glass, for example, enhances visibility throughout the organization, supporting a message of openness. Unable to expand laterally, we recently added a rooftop terrace to our office. The message from our leadership was loud and clear–this space was being preserved for everyone in the office for use whenever it fits, to get some work done or if I feel like a game of shuffleboard. We now have a great gathering space that supports engagement across all five floors of our building, enhancing our culture of transparency.
Sometimes, we find transparency to be less of a cultural shift and more of a space shift. Our client Robert Mueller, the COO of Godfrey and Kahn, said, “When we say we have a collaborative environment and people like to work together, it’s a great slogan. Every law firm says that. But when new recruits come in and see one size office for everybody, that says a lot about the culture.”
Are You A #WorkplaceOfChoice - Erik Qualman, the author of Socialnomics said “We don’t have a choice on whether to do social media: the question is how well we do it.” As people consider future employers or where to take their next big business opportunity, what they see and read about you online gives an initial impression; what they experience within your facility can provide a lasting impression. Today’s social atmosphere has made it easier than ever for us to promote our work environment and culture. So, take a moment and google your company, is your culture being shared by your employees loud and proud?
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Jackie Posselt, ASID, LEED AP ID+C