As the economy is showing slow but sure signs of recovery, there is an interesting turn-around happening. Companies are starting to resurface their image and rethink the meaning of the employment value proposition at their organization and how this is viewed by their internal community and external audiences.
Developing a strong employment brand is not an easy task and one that is not implemented overnight. It revolves around the ubiquitous issue of culture and what is deemed in demand at that time. One of the current demands that is taking on legs is the concept of a concierge workplace. The concept of a concierge workplace is in theory, a planned environment that provides employees with a work-life balance that can be managed by reducing on-site work requirements, as well as other perks that alleviate the stress of being pulled in multiple directions that may distract employees from being fully productive. It actually is not a brand-new concept, but one that is differentiating companies that take their employment value proposition seriously from those that do not.
For third-party recruiters, this concierge workplace will open more opportunities for conversation when sourcing, contacting and attracting talented individuals for their client companies. As more and more companies are observing a more flexible workplace, this allows recruiters an extra item to add to their list of benefits as they market a position to the candidate. For any recruiter outreach, being able to extol the flexibility of their client-company (or employer) as an employer that conducts business keeping their employees’ lifestyles in mind, is certainly a plus when speaking with a candidate. Many companies proudly display this as a workplace attribute with many proclaiming it a best practice amongst companies which take the employment value proposition seriously.
Third-party recruiters and staffing agencies can be at a disadvantage if they don’t understand the full scope of their client’s work environment. Some third-party recruiters focus on the position to be filled without a full understanding of the culture of their client. This will make recruiting viable candidates difficult as the fit will not be a match for neither the client nor the candidate. Not everyone is destined to work in a ”transient” or concierge workplace. Understanding the pros and cons and being able to explain this to your candidates is essential to making a great selection for the organization. If someone has 20+ years of work experience in a structured office environment, he/she may not be a great fit for a concierge workplace.
In essence, the concierge workplace observes the need for work-life balance with today’s workforce. Every generation from the late boomers to the newer Gen Y employee is seeking some type of equalization between the demands of home- and work-life. To this end, the once traditional benefits offering is taking on a new personality and is no longer your grandfather’s total remuneration package.
A well-developed concierge workplace will have a foundation of flexibility upon which the perks will sit. The perks, themselves, will vary by the company’s choice. These perks can range from in-house dinner offerings that are prepared and ready to be picked as people leave work for the day, to dry cleaning services where the service provider is either another in-house concession or one where frequent stops are made to the company’s location, offering employees the chance to have their clothes picked up, cleaned and returned without having to leave the company building. One more common offering is the on-premise daycare center. This one is in itself, a well-used and more frequently seen employee benefit.
A contemporary variation of the concierge workplace is one where employees no longer are assigned a work station, office or cubicle. This “transient” workplace design is taking legs as more and more employers are offering employees the opportunity to split their time between working in the office and from home. For example, John Hancock Financial in Boston is in the process of reconditioning their work environment to not only offer employees a more balanced work life, but in doing so is totally revamping their employee work areas. In the place of once defined hard-wall offices and prefab cubicles will be cafe tables with outlets to support laptops, iPads and other handheld devices. The addition of couches and “comfy” chairs that lounge will also be added to the decorum of a casual work environment. In the case of this organization, the goals are to reduce commute time, offer employees a more relaxed environment which will induce creative juices to flow more easily, and support the belief that work-life balance is essential to the well-being of their employees.
Typically, concierge work environments are considered part of the overall benefits package and for some companies a replacement for lower salaries and reduced or non-existent pay raises. In today’s work world, some people would rather have a lower salary if the overall benefits package is one that allows for more off-work time, which is telling about today’s workforce, especially the younger generations which are looking for more equity with their time and place a high value on it.
According to a *2007 survey conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management, they found that flexible working conditions and telecommuting are two of the most highly regarded benefits an organization can offer its employees.
What companies do need to evaluate when considering a concierge workplace is who their target audience is, how this workforce situation will impact their business in the present and future, and how extolling this as a perk to replace salary compensation will affect their standing in the war for talent.
*Source: SHRM ® 2006 Job Satisfaction Survey Report: www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Pages/default.aspx
About the Author
Cyndy began her career Human Resource Communications on Madison Avenue in New York City 15 years ago. Prior to that, she worked in corporate human resources as a training and development coordinator. In addition, Cyndy has multiple years of media planning, employment branding and human resource communications strategy experience at a management level from both the media and agency sides. She has managed the human resource communications function for many clients including: The IRS, Applebee’s, Merrill Lynch, GE Capital, Corning, Colgate Palmolive, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Lowe’s, LensCrafters, and Home Depot.
Cyndy is a guest blogger on ERE.net, Toolbox for HR and HireFriday.com where she writes about topics of high-interest to the human resources industry. In addition, she has published various articles in the Kansas City Small Business Journal, which has been incorporated into the entrepreneurship curriculum at a local Kansas City college. She is also the author of the eBook: How Strategic Human Resource Communications Influence Hiring Practices.
She currently resides in the Greater Kansas City area and was named the 2011 Director of the Year at NAS Recruitment Communications where she serves in the role of director of HR marketing communications.
Cyndy holds a BA in psychology and mass communications from Westfield State College in Massachusetts.