116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Dodgeball league. Iowa winter fashion show. Outdoor ice rink. Free winterizing sessions. These are just a few of the ideas that came out of my breakout session discussing winter in Iowa at the 2015 Diversity Forum.
Creative minds came together at this year's Oct. 7 forum to discuss how to improve and enhance our region, with an emphasis on place-making. The energy was inspiring.
Business leaders, pay attention: The results of this meeting could affect your bottom line, perhaps significantly.
Research from the Knight Foundation has found a positive correlation between how people feel about where they live and employee engagement at work. Dr. Katherine Laufin, known as the city doctor (city-doctor.com), is helping to educate city leaders and employers on the art of place-making. Social offerings, aesthetics, openness. Having a clean, cool looking city matters. Providing diverse social offerings and events. Living in a community where you feel a sense of openness and connection. It all matters.
How can we fully use place-making? For starters, live where you play. Living where you play encourages community exploration outside of work and fosters positive experiences close to home. We start to develop a sense of place, of belonging, proud feelings associated with where we live. This is the holy grail of place-making.
Diversity Focus learned that in Eastern Iowa, newcomers on average form their impressions of a region within six months of living here. No matter how much money we spend recruiting new employees, we've got six months to make the right impression. On average, it costs 1.5 times someone's annual salary to replace them. Live where you play. Love where you live. Love where you work.
The time to act is now. Let's all do more to enhance the social offerings, aesthetics and openness of our communities. Come to the Cedar Rapids library next Tuesday to learn more about how. Some of us have ideas, and some of us have the connections and resources to bring ideas to life.
' Marieda Freese is the founder of Kazoo, a talent-retention company for Eastern Iowa. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org; @Kazoo_social