Expertise / Commercial and Workplace / Research

Does workplace design affect employee attraction?

A joint study by HASSELL and Empirica Research has found workplace facilities and culture still play a central role in helping organisations attract the best and brightest employees.

HASSELL Principal Steve Coster says while salary and benefits remain the greatest influence on an individual's choice of employer, understanding the additional factors that influence job seekers will give employers the competitive edge.

"For businesses competing for talent in a cost constrained environment, understanding what is important to current and potential staff is critical," says Steve.

"While there is a growing demand for technology that supports flexible and remote working arrangements, the role of the office remains a key factor in employee attraction and retention."

The survey of more than 1,000 Australian job seekers found almost a quarter of participants were prepared to accept a lower paid role if the employer was offering appealing facilities and a positive workplace culture; while a creative, modern workplace was considered a greater priority than individual work spaces.

"Employees today expect more from their employer than simply a competitive salary," Steve says.

"Extra facilities such as gyms, childcare and access to outdoor spaces are major considerations, as is office location, access to public transport and provision of spaces that support different styles of working."

And the benefits that come from a more positive workplace aren't just for employees. Post-occupancy surveys of newly completed workplaces designed by HASSELL have demonstrated tangible improvements to overall business performance and employee satisfaction.

After moving to its bespoke new premises in Adelaide's Victoria Square and undertaking a process to drive cultural change through the business, SA Water saw graduate applications increase from 20 per year to more than 400, sick leave reduced by one day per person per year and employee turnover reduced by two per cent.

"When you consider the capital cost of an office renovation or build, relative to the ongoing cost of employee turnover and recruitment, investing in effective workplace design and organisational culture programs is by far the most economic option," says Steve.

"Individually, a high salary, modern workplace, supportive workplace culture and the latest technology are key drivers in the decision making process for job seekers. However, savvy organisations that offer a combination of all these elements place themselves in an even stronger position to attract the best in the business," Steve says.

Download the talent attraction research report




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