Roanoke company uses updated design to attract millennials

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10)-- As students head to college, many are concerned about what the job market will be like after graduation. Experts say there are plenty of jobs in the insurance industry, but many young people don't want them.

A recent study from The Hartford showed that only four-percent of millennials interviewed were interested in insurance as a career. That's why one company moving to the Star City is changing the work environment to attract the younger workers.

The new office for Hawk Advisers on Williamson Road is still under construction, but by walking around inside, you can tell it's very different from the typical office space. From the open-work environment and the huge windows looking out on Downtown Roanoke, to a futuristic break room that will feel more like a coffee shop, the future space for Hawk Advisers is something you would expect from a high-tech company.

Executive VP Stephen Hamilton says between now and 2020, more than 400,000 jobs are expected to leave the insurance industry. That's why his company is working hard to get those millennial workers into the Star City and keep them here.

"For us, we know we've got to be able to recruit young talent and retain the talent we have," says Hamilton. "The way to do that is to create a more modern approach to our industry and business. What we've decided to do with our space is embrace change. We're creating an open concept where we'll be encouraging collaboration, not only with our employees but with the community and with our clients."

When complete, the space will feature an open-air office plan that has smaller collaborative spaces for employees to work together. The break room is also different from most offices, it's set up like a coffee shop with a bar and modern design.

It's all the brainchild of Theresa and John Dorlini, owners of Circle Design Studio. They say modern designs like this are what attract millennials to choose one workplace over another.

"They want to be a part of something bigger," says Theresa. "Having a job and having a paycheck isn't the main goal. It' wanting to be part of a business and company that is something you believe in. So when a company shows that they care about their employees, that's important to the next generation."

The design will also feature some very special aspects of Roanoke, like hanging panels that show the Star City and a map of the riverways hanging above their heads. It's key features like this, that Hawk Advisers hope will give these workers a sense of place and make them feel more involved and included in the workplace.

The space is expected to be finished in the next couple of months and will put its modern approach to the test.