Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Woven into the Fabric of Every Strong Economy Is a Vibrant Arts Community

Here at the office, we’re in the midst of our fourth annual office fund-raiser for the United Performing Arts Fund.

We kicked off our fund-raiser last week with a tour of the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee, home to Skylight Opera Theater and other companies. Photos at left, courtesy Elizabeth Franczyk, show the costume shop. Thanks to Diana Aliota and Jim Ferrell for a fun and fascinating look at all the passion, ingenuity and hard work that goes into every show.

UPAF—kind of like the United Way, but for artistic organizations—is clearly a big reason our hometown boasts a lively arts scene. Less obvious, perhaps, is that it’s also a key driver of our region’s economic resilience.

A strong arts community helps attract and retain the talented, creative professionals who are essential to our ongoing economic evolution and growth. That’s what makes increasing collaboration among creative organizations and businesses—such as the Creative Alliance Milwaukee and its Creative Hub—so important.

Meanwhile, our collective support of the arts is becoming even more crucial, at a time when the state budget is tight and legislators are finding it necessary to slash public funding for the arts.

So get involved. Give to UPAF. Connect with the Creative Hub. And help us keep southeastern Wisconsin’s economy strong for many years to come.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Recruiting: The Only Thing Holding Manufacturers Back?

Following up last week’s post about the increasing importance of recruiting: Perhaps nowhere are recruiting efforts more crucial right now than in manufacturing.

It’s clear that manufacturing is staging a comeback. But as throngs of experienced baby boomer workers approach retirement, the sector continues to struggle to attract the next generation of talent to maintain the momentum.

A recent NPR report highlighted the gap between manufacturing’s false image as a dark, dying industry and the reality of today’s advanced, accelerating manufacturing economy.

In medical devices, electronics, transportation, renewable energy, aerospace and defense applications and other demanding markets, U.S. manufacturers are doing high-precision, engineering-driven work, requiring a lot of people with specialized skills.

And with the likes of Ford, GM and Chrysler all adding jobs, finding these qualified manufacturing professionals is only getting tougher.

But hey, having a lot of jobs to fill is a good kind of challenge. That’s why our manufacturing clients are out in front on the issue, supplying scholarships, providing a range of training, leading collaborative efforts and advocating in numerous venues.

Meanwhile, others need to pick up the slack. For example, in our recent B2B marketing research, while 71.6% of the respondents said recruiting and retaining talent is very important to the future of their business, only 40.5% said they’re doing a good job of it. (Get a copy of the full research report here.)

If you’re in that 40.5%, let me refer you back to these 3 steps to kick-start your recruiting efforts.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Are You Winning the Intensifying Tug-of-War for Talent?

At a time when “unemployment remains stubbornly high,” you might think that recruiting talent doesn't need to be a priority.

But you might be wrong.

As economic acceleration continues, your competitors—some big, some small—are becoming more active and savvy in recruiting. They’re finding new ways to reach the talent of tomorrow that will help keep their companies innovating, evolving and growing in changing times.

Successful recruiting today means:

  • Connecting with candidates where they are—mobile platforms, social networks, etc.
  • Making it part of everybody’s job, through continuous internal communications that show everyone why a robust talent pipeline matters to the future of your company.
  • Building a culture and brand that people want to be a part of.

In other words, it’s a lot more than just an open-positions web page or the occasional jobs-fair appearance.

So let’s hear it in the comments: What are you doing differently today to help attract the talent you need to succeed?