Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the US, marking an important shift in the nation's working demographics. This shift has implications for every facet of American business life, including the company culture, management style, and technological profile of contemporary businesses.
Firms with an emphasis on attracting Millennials are moving away from the traditional "cubical life" and seeking instead well-designed spaces to represent their brand and aide in attracting top, young talent.
Bringing these designs to life is no small feat, however, and clearly some companies have been infinitely better when it comes to addresses these shifting demographic trends.
Albert Gjonbalaj, CEO of UA Builders Group, an experienced leader in the office design and construction industry that focuses on generating business spaces that balance space, technology and culture, thinks that creating these spaces should not be limited to multi-billion dollar companies.
If you want to attract the best, young minds, Gjonbalaj advises clients to focus on five key characteristics when designing a new workplace.
1. Understand Millennial Design Aesthetics
Software and tech companies are great at attracting talent because they understand that Millennials thrive on collaboration and in turn create office spaces that reflect their collaborative vision, with highly functional and modern interiors that promote a sense of openness and cooperation.
To replicate this, office environments should combine open floor plans with a multitude of "gathering" spaces and specialty areas, like sound-proof conference rooms and spaces that provide employees the autonomy to move freely between them throughout the day.
2. Create Spaces That Adapt and Transform
Disruptive companies like Airbnb and WeWork have fundamentally changed their respective industries by challenging conventional wisdom with a unique product. Their success, however, has more to do with the fact that they were first to identify and execute on a change that was inevitable in their industry.
Change is not always obvious for companies -- and indeed may often be shunned. Designing a workplace that can adapt and transform with its employees creates an underlying sense that change is not only welcome but wholeheartedly encouraged.
When team members work in an environment such as this, they are more likely to stumble upon an idea or innovation that ordinarily would have been lost in the stale consistency of a typical office space.
3. Adopt a Startup Mindset
Startup culture is more than a trend: it is a fresh approach to promoting a work environment that emphasizes innovation and a solutions-first mindset. Even after developing a workforce with hundreds or thousands of employees, top tech firms continue to cultivate a startup philosophy necessary to stay competitive.
By embracing openness in the workplace, adopting spaces that integrate cutting-edge technologies, and building a culture of flexibility and change into the spaces you occupy, companies can create a company culture that can replicate the same spaces of advanced, experienced technology companies.
4. Focus on a Technology-First Approach
Next-generation companies looking for agility and efficiency should design with agility and efficiency in mind. Contractors like UA Builders Group leverage tech solutions like Building Information Modeling (BIM), a tool for creating dynamic virtual blueprints.
BIM is a sophisticated platform where architects, engineers, subcontractors, and project managers can all offer their input in real-time. These technologies are inherently "social," similar to open source technology tools like Slack and Basecamp, which are used as communication and workflow platforms at Millennial-focused companies.
5. Emphasize Consistent Efficiency
Companies adopting new methods and technology to improve office efficiencies will do well seeking design that embraces a similar approach to streamlining projects. This approach is not necessarily about doing more in less time, but rather identifying and implementing better solutions.
For example, technologies like BIM are similar with how experienced tech firms use predictive analytics, a process where data about past conditions and events help inform the future.
Another way to create efficiencies is to leverage pre-assembly and prefabrication techniques, which reduces material waste without compromising quality or safety.
Companies seeking to build the workspaces of tomorrow must increasingly be attuned to Millennial tastes. By focusing on these five areas and working with potential construction and design partners that are equally fresh and progressive-thinking, companies can execute the aesthetic vision and innovative ethos that can compete with the top companies in their industry.
What do you look for when creating work environments to attract top talent? Share your thoughts and feedback with others in the comments below.