April 1, 2014

Great Lakes Bay Business

Businesses and communities have a symbiotic relationship. Local economies depend on the success of local businesses, but communities must be attractive to the best and brightest job candidates, so that businesses have a robust pool of talent to choose from when hiring. “It’s cyclical,” says Erin O’Brien, president and CEO of CMURC (Central Michigan University Research Corporation). “Retaining top talent produces deep roots, economic development, and community pride, resulting in time and resources, both capital and human, being put back into the community—and everyone benefits.” CMURC is a nonprofit business incubator that focuses on growing businesses and accelerating the success of local entrepreneurs throughout the region by providing business services and helping businesses foster partnerships that help them grow.

One key aspect to helping businesses grow is ensuring that they have the best talent working for them. “It all comes down to people,” says O’Brien. However, attracting top talent is easier said than done. O’Brien advises the best approach is to focus on three things: company, relationships, and planning for the future. Company. It’s essential to build a culture that reflects the kind of employees you are seeking. This helps ensure that new hires will be the right fit for the business. Relationships. You never know where your next great hire will come from. Build relationships with other businesses, local colleges, and hiring agencies. Companies too often underestimate the value of these relationships. Planning for the future. The marketplace is ever changing. It’s prudent to be prepared to promote from within, so that if positions become available due to growth, or should someone leave the company, there is a seamless transition. Internships and employee development initiatives can help in this area. There is, however, an added element to these three culturebuilding essentials that companies can’t necessarily control. Community. And while they can’t control it, they can contribute to it. When hiring, a company can do everything right to attract the best talent, but if the community or region isn’t a desirable place to live, the candidate is likely to pass on the position. “People want to love where they work and where they live, and where they live is where they will spend money. This goes hand in hand with quality of life in the region,” says O’Brien. So, in this symbiotic relationship between companies and communities, companies must not only invest in the communities themselves, they should also hire those who are willing to do so, too. In this way, employees enjoy a high quality of life, and businesses and local economies thrive.