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Feature of the week

How to  redesign your workplace to cater to millennial workers

If your business is seeking to attract millennial employees, you might want to look at your office layout.

Those are the results of a new study by IPSOS, a global research firm, on behalf of National Business Furniture.

The study found that office design and aesthetics are playing a greater role in recruiting young talent.

Younger generation cares more

The survey found that 76 percent of millennials, ages 18-34, feel "somewhat or very strongly" that  office design and aesthetic influences their impression of a company, whereas only 39 percent of employees older than 55 care about what their office looks like.

The survey found about two-thirds of younger employees wished their workplace would consider  design upgrade. They also cared about where an office is located.

A millennial employee will judge a company more on its websites, logos and branded materials than older workers.

"Clearly first impressions matter, especially with millennials, and an interview experience can be impacted by how good a prospective employee feels about a company's physical space," said Dean Stier, vice president of multi-channel marketing for National Business Furniture.

Tips for businesses

Stier offers these tips on how businesses can create a more inviting office space for prospects and current employees.

  • Customize spaces to fit departments and jobs. While employees in finance will want personal offices to manage sensitive information, more collaborative groups like marketing may work better in the open with desks clustered closer together for creative brainstorming.
  • Add portable wall panels to open cubicle spaces. Noise is one negative side effect of today's contemporary open office floor plan. Today, there are a wide range of creative portable screens and walls that can be quickly added for privacy and to act as a sound barrier.
  • Go green. Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study that measured a 15 percent increase in productivity when "lean" workplaces with a bare-bones aesthetic were spruced up with green plant life. Introducing plants to an office environment has been reported to reduce absenteeism by up to 50 percent, and reduce minor illness by 30 percent.
  • Create an active workplace: Recent studies have found that prolonged sitting can increase health risks such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Employers can create more active workplaces today by incorporating standing-height or adjustable-height tables that allow workers to rotate between sitting and standing during the day.

CEOs more optimistic about global economy , survey finds

 Attracting and retaining talent ranks as the top concern among CEOs and the rest of the C-Suite, HOT-BUTTON ISSUES FOR 2018Key findings of the Conference Board survey include:• Fear of a global recession has plummeted. For 2017, CEOs globally ranked it as their number-one concern; for 2018, they moved it down to their 19th.• The top concern of CEOs is attracting and retaining talent.• The second top concern of CEOs is creating new business models because of disruptive technologies.• Concern about income inequality has risen sharply. For 2017, CEOs globally ranked it 18th; for 2018, it is their 7th biggest concern. It is of special concern in China, where it ranks 3rd.• Anxiety about global trade has increased. For 2017, CEOs globally ranked threats to global trade systems as their 15th biggest concern; for 2018, it is their 8th.according to a survey by The Conference Board of more than 1,000 business leaders about the top challenges facing their organizations this year.

"Businesses appear to be starting 2018 with a healthy sense of confidence, a sentiment reinforced by our recent projection of three percent global economic growth for this year," said Bart van Ark, report co-author and Chief Economist of The Conference Board. "However, the optimism remains tempered by a few factors – among them, a continuation of geopolitical and social tensions, uncertainty around global policy issues, talent shortages, and the disruption caused by emerging technologies."

"To cope with worker and skill shortages down the road, this year's survey results tell us that organizations are fundamentally rethinking the composition of their future workforces," said Rebecca L. Ray, report co-author and Executive Vice President, Knowledge Organization at The Conference Board. "Nearly 80 percent of CHRO respondents foresee greater use of contingent non-traditional employees. Moreover, three-quarters of them anticipate a rise in digital labor solutions such as robotic process automation."

The desire for a "culture of innovation" ranks as the number-one innovation strategy in every region (Asia is the one exception, where it is third), every industry, every size company, and among CEOs and C-Suite executives alike. Also, the report finds the impact of the New Digital Economy is clearly being felt in the daily processes and practices of organizations, and through the emergence of new competitors from every part of the globe.


Hottest housing markets in 2018 predicted to be San Jose,  Raleigh and Seattle

Zillow's Top 10 Housing Markets for 2018:San Jose, Calif.Raleigh, N.C.SeattleCharlotte, N.C.San FranciscoAustin, TexasDenverNashville, Tenn.Portland, Ore.DallasTO IDENTIFY 2018's hottest housing markets, real estate and rental marketplace Zillow looked for places with quickly rising home values and rental prices, low unemployment rates, steady income growth and strong job opportunities with lots of people moving to the area.

In addition to identifying San Jose, Raleigh and Seattle as the top markets, Zillow predicts that Austin, Texas will have the strongest population growth on the top 10 list, at 2.8 percent. Seattle has the highest forecast rental appreciation, with rents in the metro expected to climb another 3.5 percent over the next 12 months.

Why San Jose leads

Rapid home value growth and a high number of job openings per person are the driving forces behind San Jose's position at the top of Zillow's list. The San Jose housing market has been booming for several years, mainly due to people moving to the area for high-paying jobs.

Zillow's analysis highlights just how strong the San Jose market really is. Although San Francisco home values have recently started to cool, San Jose's home values are projected to rise 9 percent in 2018. The median home value in San Jose is over $1 million, and the median rental price is $3,514 per month. Over the past five years, San Jose home values have appreciated 78 percent.

Although Zillow's list is largely made up of established tech towns, two increasingly hot North Carolina markets also made the top 10 ranking. Income and population growth in Charlotte and Raleigh are among the strongest of all markets on the list. Raleigh anchors North Carolina's "Research Triangle" and saw a 9 percent increase in income growth last year. In Charlotte, a fast-growing banking center, incomes rose about 9.5 percent over the past year.

"This list shows that just because a market is smaller or more affordable doesn't mean it isn't dynamic," said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. "Growing cities in the Sun Belt, places like Raleigh, Charlotte and Nashville, offer plenty of opportunities healthcare and finance, while providing a less-expensive, but still-convenient, alternative to the larger and pricier markets in the Northeast. The tech industry continues to roar, attracting thousands of new residents per year to tech-dominant markets like Seattle, Denver and the Bay Area. The higher cost of living in these areas is offset to a large degree by well-paying tech jobs."


Many marketers fail to customize messages even when they can do so, survey finds

YOU MIGHT want to look at doing a better job of customizing your messages.

At a time when consumers are demanding more customized content, too many marketers are failing to do so, according to a new study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

The survey found that:

  • Nine out of 10 marketers need help improving their personalization strategies.
  • Two our of every five marketers fail to tailor their initiatives to audiences of different age groups, thereby missing out on substantial opportunities.
  • A quarter of marketers are able to execute basic personalization tactics, such as including a customer's name or birthday in messages, but do not always do so because they find it too much trouble.
  • Seventeen percent of marketers say they cannot personalize content because they still have trouble collecting and analyzing data.

"Personalization isn't limited to a customer's name; and marketers who go beyond this simple data point in order to customize communications will reap the benefits," said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. "Marketers should tailor content to their customers' habits and demographics. Fairly easy-to-implement adjustments, such as triggered campaigns and lifecycle messaging, will go far."

The report, A Blueprint for Using Audience Insights to Inform Marketing Communication Strategies, is based on an annual survey of 300 marketers online and during The full report can be downloaded here.


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