By Victoria Kertz, California Business Journal.
Today’s labor market presents employers with a challenge they haven’t faced since the Clinton administration: retaining their best employees in an America with an unemployment rate under four-percent.
It’s a job seeker’s market, and employees are demanding more than just a good paycheck; they want to work in a space that makes them feel comfortable.
No one knows this better than Jesse Bagley, Founder and CEO of Interior Office Solutions.
“CEOs are looking at the work environment as an extension of their investment in the work force, now more than ever,” Bagley says.
IOS, founded in 2000, helps companies attract and retain talent by enhancing productivity and wellness through top-quality furniture, workspace design and consultation.
Their services are in high demand.
Google ‘employee retention’ and you’ll be buffeted by links to surveys and articles showcasing how today’s workforce requires more flexible work schedules, amenities like sit-stand desks, and a company that shares its values.
“The workforce is looking at more than what the company does. They want to know why the company does it, and the work environment has to align with that,” Bagley says.
IOS’ four showrooms along the West Coast exemplify that work environment. Each features a relaxation room where stressed employees can lay down, clean water and fresh fruit in the kitchen, and sit-stand desks to help keep employees active.
The company’s Los Angeles showroom has also been Gold Certified by the International WELL Building Institute.
Investment in that standard of excellence is a double-win for Bagley. Not only do the showrooms help his clients realize what’s possible for their own spaces, they contribute to the culture and values at IOS.
“We build spaces for people to thrive, that enable a great culture, and that includes our own,” Bagley says.
A boon to companies large and small
The considered workspace and developed culture Bagley talks about have long been attended to by tech giants in Silicon Valley.
Facebook, the most desirable place to work in the country according to Glassdoor, is famous for its casual, dorm-like atmosphere. Employees who work for the company cite that culture as a huge draw.
But Bagley says you don’t have to be a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut to make the kind of workspace investments that will keep employees from straying. Many of IOS’ 5,000 clients are mid-sized companies or government agencies that have recently come around to the correlation between culture and retention.
“Smaller companies are still very much focused on profit and productivity, but I believe they’re beginning to understand how creating a proper environment and culture for their people leads to profit and productivity.”
Conversely, Bagley adds, larger entities with thousands of workers should not be afraid to invest in their culture. Helping behemoths like Boeing and Costco make the switch to a more considered workspace is a specialty for IOS.
He cites one of IOS’ latest, largest projects: The Long Beach Civic Center, combining the City Hall, Port of Long Beach and City Library.
“We’re designing workspaces and installing furniture on 27 floors. That’s 600,000 square feet. That’s huge.”
Regardless of a company’s size, Bagley says employers can always help their culture by establishing, or reiterating, their company’s values.
“Make sure employees know ‘the why’ of the company,” he said. “Put them in an environment that portrays that vision.”
An informed employee who understands what’s expected of them, he points out, feels secure and confident in their role.
And when a company is ready to apply that vision to their workspace, Bagley says his team is ready to take the call.
“A company should come to IOS because they believe in the value of their work environment and their space as an integral part of their ability to attract and retain employees,” he says. “If employees and team members are a priority, and leadership sees the happiness and the well-being of team members as a way to drive profit and create value for their shareholders, IOS may be the right partner for them.”
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