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October 19, 2021

The View From Here

Destination Employer
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Strang'rs and their families at the annual Strang Picnic.

One of the most formidable challenges facing organizations today is the retention, development, and recruitment of top talent. This is a nationwide situation with regional and local ramifications. My role at Strang affords me the opportunity for firsthand interaction with numerous organizations across the Madison and Milwaukee areas. From private industry to nonprofits or the arts and education, these conversations often recite this reoccurring refrain: “How do we best address today’s unprecedented challenges within employee retention and recruitment?” From my perspective, there is no one answer. Each of the leaders I speak with share differing circumstances, but they end up in the same place—maintaining the best employee base possible.

Happy people eating outside

So, what is the genesis behind these comments? While I am no expert in human resources or economics allow me to share My View From Here.

First, the global pandemic—in combination with favorable economic conditions—has created an employee marketplace. Here, career seekers have numerous options available to them. This includes where they work, how they wish to work, and for whom they wish to work. Although wages and benefits remain a strong bargaining chip, demands for workplace flexibility are key.

However, there are other factors in play. For example, an improved and technology-enabled work environment is holding an increasingly larger role in employment considerations. Your workplace setting has become more important than ever.

“You are a product of your environment. So, choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success—or are they holding you back?”

- Clement Stone

I believe those words apply equally to our built environments, not solely societal settings. Our experience and client feedback demonstrate that well-designed, professional workspaces are significant components in retaining and attracting top talent. Especially those that emphasize wellness, safety, productivity, integrated technology, and environmental concerns. Such settings elicit a positive, experiential impression, galvanizing those within to feel they are part of something unique. As a result, employees feel empowered, surrounded by space that is a pleasure to occupy and collaborate within. In addition, prospective colleagues who tour the space look around and sense “Yes, this IS a place I could see myself working in”. Such sentiments are expressed with equal passion within both renovated and entirely new spaces.
Furthermore, a space designed to reflect your vision, values, and brand can help vault you into “Destination Employer” status, i.e., an organization which respects employee engagement, inclusiveness, wellbeing, and the desire to grow a career rather than simply holding a job. Top talent proactively seeks out Destination Employers, not the other way around.
Later in this issue, we’ll cover this topic in further detail. We’ll share how you, a transformational leader, can rally your organization’s brand, culture, and values to inspire your ideal workplace setting. It’s these positive steps you can take towards retaining and recruiting top talent.

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