Making the Office More Attractive for New Recruits

A great recruiting team can make an HR Administrator's job fairly easy. They bring us vetted, pre-screened candidates who possess many, if not most, of the qualities we're seeking for available positions. It sure beats going through stacks of mostly unqualified resumes. 

At the same time, there's plenty of work for us HR administrators to do after the recruiting process. This sometimes involves further screening and interviewing, but more often than not it involves convincing the recruit that we're offering a position and work environment that will benefit them in both the short and long terms.

Around the offices I've worked, HR administrators are often regarded as bean counters. We're trying to maximize staff output, so we can hire as few people as possible. We are sticklers for rules and policies, even if silly and pointless. And if you need time off, we're going to find every reason to deny you. I submit that this reputation is ill-earned, and that HR administrators do plenty to improve office life.

This shows itself no more than when interviewing a new recruit. Again, because we have had recruiters vet the candidate, more often than not we don't need extensive further interviews. Most of the time we're convincing the recruit to accept our offer. One tactic I've employed to entice new recruits is to make little improvements around the office.

People don't want to work in a stodgy, restrictive environment. All things being equal, a candidate will pick a position with a company that offers a better office experience. Even if all things aren't equal, a high quality office can offset salary and benefits to a certain extent. Since HR administrators are largely in charge of the office environment, we must ensure that our offices meet and even exceed the expectations of our recruits.

HR administrators with a little leeway would do well to make some of these improvements. Potential new hires will certainly notice them when they tour the office, and they could even act as a tiebreaker between similarly competitive offers.

A stocked break room. This might seem obvious, but too many companies I've worked for have neglected the importance of a break room. At my current company I ensure that we have plenty of coffee for the morning pot, and k-cups for the Kuerig for those who want a cup in the afternoon. Napkins, plasticware, silverware, paper towels, and dish-washing materials should also be clearly in display. If given the budget, I love to cordon off part of the fridge for communal items, such as soda and milk.

Organized bathroom. I've known people who have quit companies because they've kept their bathrooms in poor repair. Setting cleaning schedules is easy enough (and I don't understand companies who don't take care of that). But there are other factors. Providing pump soap and actual hand towels (in addition to paper towels) makes people happy. I also try to create room for bathroom storage so there are always supplies in reserve. After all, no one wants to find a bathroom absent toilet paper.

Bright lighting. Like too many offices, ours doesn't take in enough light from the outside. And in any case, those who have windows like to keep the shades drawn. We work in an office campus, and no one wants people staring in. But normal, dim, fluorescent lighting can sap productivity. They do run expensive, so you'll have to beg for permission to install them, but LED bulbs create a much nicer working environment. They project strong, clear light that more closely resembles sunlight. They're also non-toxic and last up to 20 years.

Again, not all of these upgrades work for every office. But at the same time, creating a more vibrant office environment can be a great way to convince recruits to pick your company. It might not make the difference when there are tens of thousands of dollars difference in salary, but if all things are equal don't you want your company to have the edge?

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