Business

To retain talent, companies should embrace a better culture, panel says

Businesses that address employee needs will succeed

Angi McKie, Senior Director of Operations at the University of Iowa Pomerantz Career Center, speaks during the Future of
Angi McKie, Senior Director of Operations at the University of Iowa Pomerantz Career Center, speaks during the Future of Workforce Gazette business panel in Whipple Auditorium at the Cedar Rapids Public Library in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday, June 8, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Corridor companies need to embrace a good corporate culture to recruit and retain talent, a panel of hiring managers and job placement officials said Thursday.

“These challenges have been there and I think the employers that are facing them and addressing them and looking for ways to stand out and be unique are having success. It’s the employers that kind of want to put their head in the sand and say, ‘Well, it wasn’t always like this’” that will have trouble, said DaLayne Williamson, director of workforce services for the Iowa City Area Development Group.

Speaking to a group of about 25 during a Gazette Business Breakfast at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, the panelists acknowledged younger workers view the workplace and career paths differently than previous generations.

For example, work-life balance, enjoyment in the workplace and personal career growth are all important amenities for today’s workers, they said. Those amenities “trump salary in many cases,” said Angi McKie, senior director of operations for the University of Iowa’s Pomerantz Career Center.

Megan Schulte, Frontier Co-Op human resources manager, echoed that sentiment.

“Compensation just isn’t as big of a part of what they’re looking for as it used to be. They really want a company that they can believe in and they can talk to their family and friends about,” Schulte said.

Meanwhile, job seekers need to know that their skills from previous jobs can translate to different positions, said Kate Pine, business marketing specialist with Iowa Workforce Development.

Local employers that have to recruit from outside Iowa often have to contend with a negative stereotype about the Hawkeye State, two panelists said.

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“Once we get on the phone with (candidates), the instant you mention Iowa, then they’re kind of shut down because they’ve got this viewpoint of what Iowa looks like,” Schulte said. “We feel like once we get over that hurdle and we get them here into the Corridor area, it’s easy to sell them on the area.”

Seth Wear, senior manager of talent acquisition at Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins, also said his company has difficulty overcoming a stereotype of the state. Progress and economic development since the 2008 flood, though, has helped with that image, he said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; matthew.patane@thegazette.com

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