INSIGHT: Can a cool office attract top Kiwi tech talent?

Google has a slide, Facebook has a sweet shop and Twitter has a yoga room - but does it really matter?

The technology sector’s famously alternative workspaces are being replicated by many businesses, but do they have the desired impact on employee productivity, performance and retention?

According to recruiting experts Hays, the answer depends on your organisation’s culture.

“The technology sector is known for its cool, convention-defying offices,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, Hays Australia and New Zealand.

“For example Google in Zurich has a slide between floors, Facebook in Menlo Park has a sweet shop, and Twitter in San Francisco has a yoga room.

“These trendy tech businesses have attracted talent through their exciting work environments.”

While they may be luxurious places to work, Deligiannis believes those same workplaces in other sectors can become a distraction to employees and fail to have a positive impact.

Architects may get an opportunity to design a ‘cool’ workspace, but do you really need bean bags, a rooftop bar, nap pods or chill zones to engage your organisation’s ‘big kids’ into better, more productive work?

“When working with employers on their candidate attraction and retention strategy, we remind them that their office environment is more than just the furnishings,” Deligiannis adds.

“It’s about communicating to candidates the positive aspects of working at your organisation and also ensuring that the description provided is a genuine and accurate representation.”

Deligiannis also points out that a rejuvenated environment can make a big difference to the way an organisation goes to work - provided it is reflective of an effective cultural change.

However, when a new coat of paint is only covering the cracks in your people management strategy, the results won’t be so successful and turnover will not be reduced.

“It is your culture and your unique way of operating that will retain your top performers,” Deligiannis adds.

“So before signing up for an in-house bowling alley, it pays to remember that any environment needs to reflect the culture of the organisation, as well as enhance it.

“After all, that’s what makes the pioneers in this area stand out - Google and Facebook had the culture before the office.

“A colourful, engaging, welcoming workplace is undoubtedly a fantastic HR tool, but it needs to ring true, or it will only ever be a new coat of paint.”

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