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Company culture at center of recruiting

October 22nd, 2015

News Coverage:

Company culture at center of recruiting

By Lucretia Cardenas | Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 11:00 pm         

If you are running a business in northeast Indiana trying to attract talent, you better have a culture to match the passions of that talent.

That was the emphasis of a panel of local experts at the University of Saint Francis’ 22nd annual CEO Forum Oct. 14.

The event featured keynote speaker Michael Magsig, a former executive with Lincoln National Corp., who now works for the recruiting firm Korn Ferry. Magsig’s message focused on recruiting and retaining millennials.

Following his presentation, a panel discussed specifically what’s being done in regional organizations to meet the workforce needs of northeast Indiana.

The panel included Charles Cammack Jr., Fort Wayne Community School chief operating officer; Larry Dahl, Ash Brokerage president; Eric Doden, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. CEO; Jeff McDonald, Sweetwater vice president of human resources; and Jennifer Winklejohn, Robert Half Finance & Accounting finance division vice president.

Northeast Indiana and the state, in general, need to grow at a faster pace if they want to remain competitive in the global marketplace, Doden said. But, with a low birthrate, creating an energy that draws people from outside the state is critical.

Sweetwater is able to attract talent from other states because of the company’s culture combined with the affordable cost of living the region offers, McDonald said.

When McDonald asks job applicants what their dreams are, he sees many similarities to the answers he would have given. The one glaring difference is most millennial applicants do not add owning a home to their dream lists because of the costs they associate with it, he said.

“That’s when I have them,” McDonald said. “Housing is very affordable here.”

Attracting new talent is one of the main reasons Ash Brokerage is constructing its new headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne, Dahl said. The new work spaces will be open, creating a collaborative environment.

The company aims to provide “an opportunity for people to live their talent … their passion,” he said.

That being said, area employers need people who not only have the passion and basic skills, but who can communicate and be results-driven, panel members said. Several on the panel talked about the need for “soft skills.” Being able to form relationships with other people can be just as important, if not more so, than having high scores in the technical skills needed for the job, panelists said.

In preparation for the new talent businesses are hiring, Winklejohn offered some advice on knowledge management. While millennials and baby boomers may be nervous about working together, the transfer of knowledge is needed so that no one has to reinvent the wheel.

She also pointed out that “engaged employees are happy employees.” With this in mind, she recommended employers explore ways to make a connection with the millennial generation, whether it begins with some flexibility for the top performing employees or the implementation of a virtual workplace.

Even organizations that require certain work hours occur in certain locations, such as schools, are investigating ways to create greater flexibility in an effort to attract new recruits, Cammack said.

Company culture at center of recruiting

A panel at University of Saint Francis’ 22nd annual CEO Forum Oct. 14 included (from left to right) Jennifer Winklejohn, Robert Half Finance & Accounting finance division vice president; Jeff McDonald, Sweetwater vice president of human resources; Eric Doden, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. CEO; Larry Dahl, Ash Brokerage president; and Charles Cammack Jr., Fort Wayne Community School chief operating officer


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