More and more, companies are thinking about their workplaces beyond just functional spaces where employees show up to complete tasks every day. Forward-thinking companies realize that they can use their workplace as a tool to create an engaging employee experience, enhance their brand, and recruit the best people. In fact, ninety percent of business leaders acknowledge that a workplace can help attract and retain talent according to Keith Perske, the leader of Workplace Innovations at Colliers International.
Yesterday, Welsh & Colliers International | Minneapolis-St. Paul hosted a small event featuring a panel discussion about culture and workplace innovation moderated by Keith Perske. The discussion centered around the challenges facing modern organizations and how companies are altering the way they look at their workplaces to adapt to a changing business environment. The shifting demographics of the workforce and the fact that we are less tied to a desk to get work done indicate that we have to rethink the way we structure workplaces. The workplace can, and should, play an important role in increasing employee engagement—and an engaged workforce is more productive, more creative, and less likely to leave the company.
The panel consisted of leaders from Twin Cities-based companies who have embraced this idea and have recently moved to new spaces that they designed to create a more engaging employee experience.
Steve Arndt, CFO
The Nerdery converted a mixed-use space in Bloomington, MN into their unique, new office space. The design of the office is focused on giving their employees the opportunity to express themselves. The whole office is basically a canvas for employees to collaborate and showcase their creativity with whiteboard walls and tables throughout. The Nerdery allowed their existing culture to inform what their workplace should look like and how it should function. The bean-bag chair filled “Nerditorium” hosts a Friday afternoon event called Bottle-cap Fridays, where employees show off cool projects they have completed.
Rob Buchner, CEO
This storied Minneapolis-based advertising agency has undergone a period of transition in a shift from a traditional agency to one more focused on the creative sciences. They wanted a more intimate workplace to make work a more social experience for their employees. The move to their space coincided with a rebrand so it was important for the space to reflect the updated company vision. The new space in downtown Minneapolis was designed to be timeless with minimalist design elements. The space embraces the coolness of our local climate and brings in a ton of natural light and openness to support collaboration with different disciplines distributed across floors. The rooftop deck provides a stunning venue for company events and gives employees a place to get some fresh air and enjoy views of the city during the day.
Laurie Stanek, Vice President, Controller
Berkley Risk shows that creative workplace design can work outside of the tech and creative industries. The company was looking for a more efficient space that would allow them to attract a younger talent base. In their new space, they focused on adding technology to conference rooms, creating more open and bright spaces, lowering cubicle walls and moving to adjustable height desks to promote employee wellness. They also added an enhanced communal space with a large kitchen to give employees a place to get together and meet over lunch. Coming from a more traditional industry, they took great care to communicate with employees throughout the transition process to get their input and alleviate their concerns through measures like extensive sound-proofing.
It was interesting to hear how each of these companies use their new space to enhance their culture and promote employee collaboration and engagement. All of them noted that their workplace plays an important role in their ability to attract and retain the best employees in the market. We were convinced that an innovative workplace can be an alluring draw as we ended the evening with a reception on Mithun’s rooftop deck!