To be part of the so-called Generation Y certainly has its benefits, and not just in terms of youth. Employees aged 30 and below can count on amazing workplaces, unlike anything their parents, and especially their grandparents, would have seen. Prezi and Ustream perfectly embody this concept, though many more traditional Hungarian companies are starting to follow this trend. Today’s generation is considered more secure, open-minded, optimistic and well oriented to change, and therefore many companies are looking for candidates like them. But how can you attract them? What does Generation Y really need from a workplace?
“Generation Y has entirely different ideas about the ideal work environment. A high salary offer is not as promising as it used to be, and non-financial benefits have become more significant than ever,” Gergely Parti, response manager at recruitment specialist HAYS tells the Budapest Business Journal. “Natural light, free parking, air conditioning with manual control, free coffee and snacks, green spaces, and chill-out rooms are other important office facilities for Gen Y. According to a recent Hays Hungary survey, the most important services available in the vicinity of the workplace are the variety of restaurants/cafés, medical and sport centers, and childcare facilities. It seems that the salary and compensation package alone no longer satisfies them, which is a great challenge for the labor market as well.”
Younger employees have been raised in a technological world where all is available. As a logical consequence, when it comes to workplaces they need something more than previous generations, otherwise they will keep looking for a different job. It is not rare for new graduates to test different roles. And many times a friendly and chilled environment is a must that can define their career forever. It is not about the money so much as the lifestyle.
“Providing new generations with benefits is not enough,” says Prezi communications manager Csaba Faix. “New generations need more flexibility, with intriguing tasks. But, of course, the office environment is crucial. When the choice is hard, a charming workplace is certainly a plus. Every company who is going after qualified people is aware of that.” Prezi certainly is, to judge from its large co-working spaces, free kitchens, free libraries and musical instruments usable by everyone, in an office environment designed by the Hungarian firm Minusplus, whose motto is “Custom Made Architecture”.
The way we work has changed. So office design has had to adapt to this new way of work. “People spend most of their day time in the office. So we had to create a space where they like to stay, a space that can inspire people,” Faix adds. Prezi’s communications office, for example, was designed by the employees themselves, who were given a budget to organize and decorate the office as they wish.
“Of course, we cannot narrow it down to just Generation Y; every employee would love to work in an inspiring, lively office,” comments Balázs Varró, communications manager of Ustream, a famous Hungarian startup success that is now an IBM company. “Before moving in to our current office, we asked our colleagues what their preferences were regarding interior design and functionality. We have many tempting features: ergonomic and colorful furniture, a big community area with table tennis, table football, beans bags and so on.”
Reshaping the space, introducing open desks, couches in the middle of meeting rooms, kitchens with healthy food ready to hand, seems to be the key for attracting the best workers. “These features are mainly provided by startups, but many traditional companies are thinking in the same way when renovating or building new offices,” notes Varró.
Parti, of Hays, agrees that other, more established companies are now also adopting new workspace approaches. “More multinational companies are following the recent trends besides startups. The reason behind that is that they simply have to accommodate to the new expectations of the labor market. If they would like to acquire the best candidates, they have to offer the work environment that they need. The greatest difficulty in the case of a Gen Y employee is keeping them. You have to offer continuous challenges, career steps, opportunities and, of course, a work environment that motivates them or they will get a counter offer and leave the company,” he explains.
“The amount of money spent on creating relax rooms and friendly spaces depends on the size of the company. Most are open to creating such places, since their first interest is that the employees perform well. Nowadays it is completely natural if a conference room has an Xbox in it, or there are thematic days with different kinds of snacks served. Companies are aware of the importance of creating a friendly environment and they are ready to spend even more than HUF 1 million on creating a chill-room,” Parti says.
It seems that nowadays every firm has to consider that understanding the new generations is a crucial matter if they are to move forward.