March 23, 2017 | Liz Austin

Unsure how to attract top Millennial talent? Here’s what you should be doing differently.

If you’re trying to think ahead when it comes recruitment, consider this: Millennials will compose 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2030. It’s no big shock, then, that attracting top Millennial talent has already become recruitment priority #1 for virtually every business around the world.

When it comes to recruiting and retaining members of this generation, you might be surprised to learn that your office’s feng shui can hold as much weight as your attractive benefits package or inclusive work culture. Many companies have caught on, greenlighting an office redesign in order to better communicate their organization’s values and gain a competitive edge in the Millennial recruitment rat race.

But what elements of corporate design, exactly, are these young hires after?

Flexible Floor Plans

Millennials are tech-savvy and creative, and want an office space as flexible as their lifestyles — not to mention one that’s technologically evolved and well-designed. This generation rejects rigid nine-to-five schedules and closed-off, stuffy cubicles that uphold a strict organizational hierarchy, instead preferring the creativity and collaboration encouraged by open floor plans.

The best open floor plan for this generation is one designed for mobility. Most workers only spend 40% of the day at their desks, and given the near-ubiquity of wireless technology in today’s workplace, employees could conceivably get their work done from any corner of the office. Give Millennials the opportunity to move between different settings in order to brainstorm with team members, or isolate when need be to work on individual projects. Encourage movement and teamwork by providing portable desks and chairs that can be stationed next to co-workers’ desks, and by offering an array of different workspaces for solo and collaborative work.

Contemporary Design

Standard, conservative office furniture isn’t going to cut it for this generation, whose members are known to blur the lines between work and play. Upon entering your office, they’ll assess the furniture as an indication of the company’s “personality” and creative mentality (or lack thereof).

To accompany your open floor plan, take a cue from these well-designed interior spaces. The big design trend for 2017? Bringing the outdoor indoors, and featuring reclaimed wood paneling, exposed concrete flooring, and flora and fauna patterns. While aesthetics are important, also focus on offering an array of functional work surfaces and seating options, like standing and traditional height desks, lounge couches, and coffee tables.

Breakout Spaces

Conventional conference rooms aren’t the most conducive environment for brainstorming innovative approaches and solutions. Instead, apply the same design approach to your breakout space as you would to the rest of the office: think contemporary and comfortable. Furnish these spaces with a variety of seating options, from plush chairs to bean bags. These areas can serve a variety of purposes, from formal meetings to group-bonding sessions, so be sure to outfit your breakout space with the necessary technological equipment to promote easy communication, whether with in-house team members or with a client across the country.

All-Inclusive Amenities

Contrary to the stereotypes of laziness that have been affixed to them, Millennials are total workaholics. According to a recent study, 73% of Millennials work well over the standard 40 hours a week. To accompany these extended hours, employers should shift their mindset: instead of focusing only on “work-life balance,” organizations can deliver “work-life seamless integration.” Take a cue from Google, which offers three gourmet meals a day, on-premise laundry and fitness facilities, and more to its thousands of Silicon Valley employees — a great many of whom are Millennials.

How Can Businesses Adapt?

Though Millennials are seeking jobs that give them a sense of purpose, not every business is built to spur on social change or pursue an ethically motivated mission. Still, there are certain elements that businesses can prioritize in order to send a message of social or environmental awareness to prospective employees.

Going green, for instance, is a great way to communicate your commitment to a more sustainable future — from prioritizing adaptive reuse of previously unusable space to seeking out LEED certification, there are plenty of eco-friendly ways for companies to signal their progressive values to socially conscious applicants. If your business isn’t equipped to undertake a total overhaul, adaptive reuse is a cost-effective way to build a tech-enabled office space from existing infrastructure, without the hassle of installing all that expensive wiring yourself.

By pursuing cutting edge technology and environmental certifications — thereby clearly demonstrating your company’s progressive values — your business is sure to attract Millennial talent in no time at all.

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