Workplace (R)evolution is a unique local partnership that brings innovative ideas and practices to Corridor worksites as a way to address recruitment and retention. The mission of the program — developed in 2012 by individuals at the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa City Area Development Group, Kirkwood Community College and Diversity Focus — is to offer local businesses the opportunity to discuss challenges and share ideas to enhance company culture as a way to attract and retain employees in the corridor.
During its start, the program involved quarterly sessions on topics such as Defining your Mission, Vision and Values; to How to Hire and Fire for Culture Fit; Sustaining New Practices; and a panel of local business leaders sharing what worked and didn’t work for them. By talking through these topics and hearing from local experts, all participants are able to identify and build on strategies that would work at their individual businesses.
To build on the success of these quarterly sessions, and reach even more people, Workplace Revolution TEAM Centered Workplaces was born. Over 40 local businesses have participated, including Van Meter, Geonetric, Click Stop, Frontier, Raining Rose and many more. For the last four years we have held monthly meetings on topics such as appreciative inquiry, unconscious bias, book reviews, legal risks and measurement tools, along with the full day conference focused on workplace culture. Our efforts to continue to grow and evolve in order to provide the most benefit to local businesses have now led us to our next step — to combine resources and merge with the Iowa Ideas Conference.
While our work thus far has been regional, Iowa Ideas opens the conversation to interested parties statewide. The challenges we face in the corridor are similar to challenges that other Midwest employers face. The solutions that are being explored usually are ones that can be customized to fit multiple industries. The expertise is here in Iowa.
The concept of workplace culture as a solution for recruitment and retention challenges was new here in 2012, and still is a difficult concept to tackle. But despite the challenges, there are dozens of Iowa companies that have embraced the notion and continue to explore new opportunities to become employers of choice. Corridor businesses compete for talent worldwide. Setting ourselves apart is an undeniable necessity.
Our goal for 2017 is to continue to provide an opportunity for employers to learn from local and national experts on innovative ways to improve their recruitment and retention results. We are thrilled to partner with Iowa Ideas to provide all Iowa businesses with connections and resources to help develop workplace cultures that will attract and retain high quality employees to Iowa.
• Jasmine Almoayed is the economic development manager for the city of Cedar Rapids