The work environment matters for both creativity and employer brand
We’ve written before about building a benefits and perks strategy that is true to the company culture, and how important that has been when it comes to making employees feel at home. But what about the actual company home, the office environment? How does that become an integrated part of the employer brand strategy?
Being in hyper-growth, like Spotify is, means facing fierce competition for the most passionate and promising candidates, the ones that will make the company successful. It also poses the very real challenge of making space for the constantly growing team. But this is a challenge that also presents an excellent opportunity.
Because the working environment isn’t just an address and enough desks. It determines how teams interact together, how they can collaborate with other teams, how efficient their meetings will be, how they can connect globally and make use of the great diversity a global team adds. In short: the right work environment will make it easier for your employees to make great things happen. The wrong environment will… not.
The way your work space is set up can also go a long way in attracting new talent. It’s true what they say about first impressions, so you want to make sure that when a candidate or new employee walks into your office space, they feel the company’s identity running through its walls, floors and in the air. The company values should be vibrating from the surroundings. And what the company stands for – its mission – should be crystal clear by a simple glance at the lobby.
This is how we do it
They key is to always be true to the company culture. Focus on the experience as a whole and always choose what reflects your company values and mission. It doesn’t matter if we’re choosing furniture, wall placement, bathroom set-up or office snacks. Without connection to the company culture, the office and its amenities will be a shallow offering that won’t do much to attract and retain a candidate in the end.
At Spotify, for example, we are all about innovation. So our workplace needs to allow for creativity and collaboration for a very diverse set of people. We believe that the foundation for innovation lies in stepping out of routines old familiar thinking patterns, that we need some chaos and unpredictability around us to spur innovative thinking with unexpected connections and new ideas. This means that in our office environment, we need spaces that allow for collaboration and stepping out of routines, other spaces that allow mental relaxation from desk-tasks, spaces for discussion and thinking time away from the day-to-day environment to fuel both innovation and collaboration.
What about office perks?
Where there’s competition, there are usually many ideas on how to stick out, keep up, and add a wow-factor. But beware of random perks, and jumping at the latest cool feature everyone is talking about. Just like the rest of your office environment, the extras need to stay aligned to your company culture and be natural parts of the working environment, not something arbitrary or disconnected. And definitely not something that just competes for employees time without adding anything to your mission. Your team is there to create and achieve things together, not just hang out and have snacks.
Free food, in-office gyms, and games rooms just as a show-off don’t add much to the total package or set you apart. Lots of companies have these things, and there really is no point in offering them if you don’t offer the goodies that people really want:
- Great learning and development opportunities
- Ability to have an impact on the company’s mission
- A work environment that allows everyone to be their true selves at work
The sustainable choice is always the perk that make sense for your company culture and people – not what the latest trend says will look most appealing to a mass of candidates looking for new jobs.
Spotify workplace must haves
We have offices in many sizes all over the world and regardless of the size and location, there are a couple of main themes we always put first when we refresh old offices or build new ones:
- Employee wellbeing
- Spaces where employees can network, socialise and collaborate
- Making music a part of our everyday life
At a Spotify office you can always expect to find an event space that can host artists and stage live concerts. This is always a shared space for entertainment and appreciation, a place where both the artists visiting and the employees working at the office can feel at home. Having artists visit and share their viewpoints and talents with us is a core part of our business and our culture, so this is not only an amazing and popular perk, but one that makes sense for us.
We love to nurture employees hobbies too – especially if they are related to music. There is plenty of research which shows that learning to play a musical instrument is good for your brain. Plus we love music, so we make space for this in our offices in the form of employee jam/rehearsal studios, spaces to have music lessons, and musical instruments for employees to use.
Both physical activity and space for reflection are also good for your brain, body, and creativity. So you can also expect to see space for arts and crafts in our offices, and you can catch a in-office yoga or workout class.
Not just the icing on your employer branding identity cake
Fundamentally, our approach to our office environment is the same as our approach to benefits and perks: never add stuff just for the sake of it. The office environment is not just the icing on your employer brand identity cake, it’s one of the fundamental layers of it, so make sure it radiates the very essence of the company.
Displaying the company’s culture to candidates, visitors, and new employees when they walk into your space is paramount to employer brand identity. And whatever people experience when they step into your space, it should be something based on the company culture, something that enables productivity, learning and development, and always puts the health and wellbeing of the employees first.