“Come through, come through! Over here we have the chaise longue if any of our staff fancy a nap/counselling session following a long day of being talked down to by management. Over here we have a gin bar if anyone fancies drinking themselves into a stupor after a hard week of endless and unachievable KPIs and over here… and this is the really good bit….. we have a quiet room coated in fluff where people can go and weep after a long day of oppression and mismanagement!”.
I know what a lot of you are thinking, “A gin bar! Amazing!” I agree and having a cool office is great. However, simply dressing up your offices isn’t the primary contributing aspect to a great company culture or employer brand. Here are five reasons why:
Reason one: As impressive as it may seem, your taste isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Look, I get it. I’m a young (ish) sort of trendy (five years ago) fella. However, some people go to work to do just that, work. The swing set, see-saws, hammocks and drinks cabinets are great if you’re chilling outside of work, but at work they send a mixed message. Are we here to work or get smashed or play like children? Also a ball pool? Come on mate. Infantalising or what? Next you’ll be asking staff to suck dummies if they’re talking too much.
Reason two: If you’re going to offer it, don’t be offended if people use it too much for your liking.
If Sandra in HR is going to get a bee in her bonnet that Dave from accounts has spent too long on the chaise longue, when he should be crunching the numbers and coming up with explanations as to why this month the business has underperformed, sorry but don’t bloody well offer it to everyone in the first place! You can’t really ‘structure’ the fun aspect to your offerings as the result will be that they are disingenuous. For example, you can’t say… “Here is a see saw, this can only be used in the hours of 6-7 every day (i.e. outside of contracted work hours).”
Reason three: Forced fun is literally the least fun anyone can ever have.
“Go on. Sit down on the swing. Go on. Go higher. Go on. EVERYONE! Come in here! Jim is three feet off the ground! Go on Jim! Go higher! Everyone! Gather round, form a queue, watch Jim get even higher.” Poor Jim. Forced fun is no fun at all.
Reason four: A nice office isn’t an employer brand. Please stop saying it is.
This is the most frustrating part. If an employer brand was just having a nice office, our Creative Director would wear overalls and go around pointing at walls and talking about ‘ambience’ (pronounced in this instance ARRMBEEYAARNCE,) rather than pour through hundreds of thousands of words from focus group notes. I’ve heard it all, “we have a great culture here, we have pool tables, ping pong tables, an old retro game centre,” Great. But that doesn’t say anything about your company values unless one of them is “game” or “fun.”
Reason five: A nice office doesn’t come before progression, supportive management and great communication. This can’t act as the centre piece of a great employer brand.
Let’s face it. It doesn’t matter if your office is the best office in the world, if the management structure makes an employee's life a misery. If ‘fun’ is what you’re going for, make sure your managers know this. Make sure it’s in every piece of communication, make sure it’s front and centre of every piece of recruitment material to ensure that you’re sending the right message and attracting the right people to your brand.
If you need any help with the above, just give us a shout. It’s what we’re experts at.