Workspace design crucial for talent retention

09 July 2015

  • WBS academic Dawn Eubanks part of latest ShardTalks event
  • Importance of workplace design debated
  • Office is being used more than ever as recruitment tool
  • Understanding generational needs crucial

Dawn Eubanks, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science & Strategy, told the latest ShardTalks event at the iconic London building that the office is increasingly being used as a recruitment tool.

At the event, design, behavioural economics and recruitment experts discussed how workspace design is increasingly crucial in the battle to attract and retain top talent.

The most creative and innovative business leaders now recognise the importance of workplace design. First to attract top talent into the building and second to create an environment in which employees can best reach their potential.

A recruitment tool

Dr Eubanks said: “The workplace is being used much more now as a recruitment tool than ever before. The environment in which people are working is being used to attract the top talent.”

Smart business leaders were able to understand the difference between what was fashionable in office design and what was effective for their business.

Many offices have four different generations of employee working under them. What works for a Millennial may not inspire Generation X, and vice versa. The important thing is for a business leader to understand what type of office will break down generational silos and inspire teams to collaborate.

“Older people can contribute a lot to creativity and innovation and you don’t want to lose those people,” said Dr Eubanks. “It’s something that talent managers need to be aware of.”

Make it somewhere that works for them

James Goldsmith, Leasing Director at Real Estate Management (REM), which operates at The Shard, said: “It’s simple really – if you’re asking someone to spend a lot of time in an office, as successful businesses do, then make it somewhere that works for them. That means somewhere that is attractive, that enables them to work to their best and increasingly helps them to manage their commitments outside of work.”

The workplace needs to be able to adapt

Ryan Mullenix, Partner at NBBJ, an architecture firm that was worked with clients including Samsung, Amazon and Microsoft, said: “The workplace really exudes the ethos of an organisation. You feel it when you walk in the door.

“But it also has to give people a glimpse of the future. It has to be agile. Businesses change and develop so quickly and the workplace needs to be able to adapt to match it.”

Raphael Gielgen, Head of Research and Solution for the Office at Vitra, said: “It is about improving creativity, agility, cognitive function. It is not just about efficiency. Design can have a real effect on the workforce.”

Dr Eubanks teaches Leading for Innovation on the Executive MBA and MSc Business suite of Postgraduate Courses. She also teaches Advanced Leadership on the MSc Marketing & Strategy, Behavioural Sciences for the Manager on the Executive MBA, Innovation and Creativity in Organisations on the Full-time MBA.

As part of the Undergraduate suite of programmes, she teaches Acquiring Research Skills and Leadership.

Dawn Eubanks and fellow panellists discuss office design
Top talent: Dr Dawn Eubanks of WBS (Centre) discusses the importance of design with fellow panellists Ryan Mullenix, Partner at NBBJ (left) and Neil Usher, Workplace Director, Sky (right)


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