This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution Most high performing people don’t stick around one place their whole lives anymore. They’re generally attracted to large cities with like-minded people. Because of this, companies based in small cities need to work especially hard to recruit top talent. But from my experience, if the right job […]
This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution
Most high performing people don’t stick around one place their whole lives anymore. They’re generally attracted to large cities with like-minded people. Because of this, companies based in small cities need to work especially hard to recruit top talent. But from my experience, if the right job presents itself, most Gen Y go-getters are totally open to new opportunities and new cities of any size. Companies based in small cities may be at a disadvantage, but there are things they can do to compete. Here are five.
1. Embrace your city
A lot of people grow up with dreams of moving to New York, L.A. or Chicago. So, if you’re headquarters are just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, you better have something up your sleeve to compete.
Epic Systems does. They’re competing by embracing their city. The Madison Art Fair is the place to be when the weather gets nice. When springtime rolls around, Epic encourages their employees to go to the fair and buy a piece of art. Epic will then hang the piece on the wall and reimburse the employee 100%. Epic has figured out how to embrace their location and you better believe they tell visiting recruits where all their beautiful art came from.
2. Put your young people on the front line
The biggest reservation that Gen Yers have about moving to a small city is that nobody our age will live there. When you don’t have a family, a social life is extremely important. Companies need to show recruits that there are other young people working there by putting them on the front line.
Be sure the career fair recruiters are young. When you bring recruits in for an interview, send a young person in as an interviewer, greeter, or tour guide. Finally, let your recruits spend a night out on the town, all expenses paid, with your top young employees. Don’t be shy to instruct your employees to talk about the cost of a night out, or the discounted rent in your small city compared to what it costs in New York or Los Angeles. If they still don’t want to take the job after experiencing the best your small city has to offer, then you’re probably out of luck. But this is one surefire way to find out.
3. Brand yourself as a great place to work
It seems like every year, the same companies end up on the best places to work list. Giants like Google, Ernst & Young and Deloitte are always named. They make the list because they consciously brand themselves as employers. Sure, they brand their products and services, but they know the value of people, and they make sure people know the value of working there.
This year, Quicken loans hit number two on the list. Quicken is located in Livonia, MI, a small city 20 miles outside of Detroit. They manage to attract top talent despite being located in a small city in the Midwest because they are consciously branding themselves as an employer of choice. And they’re making a lot of money doing it.
4. Be a great place to work
Branding your company as a great place to work is a great idea. But an even better idea is to actually practice what you preach and be a great place to work. W.L. Gore has been a great place to work since they started in 1958, and the media has in turn, branded Gore as a great place to work. Without actively pushing their agenda, people (like me) have discovered that Gore is a unique company with no hierarchy, no job titles, and the opportunity for leaders to emerge from anywhere.
They were number 15 on this year’s list, and they’re located in Newark, DE. Newark is a nice little town, but it’s certainly no New York City. Gore has managed to overcome their small city location and thrive for more than 50 years.
5. Expand your recruiting network
You may think that being headquartered in a small city requires you to stay local when it comes to recruiting. I disagree. By staying local, it’s very hard to recruit the top talent. If you want to create a world class business, you need world class talent, and world class talent is probably not all local.
At Brazen Careerist, we knew that finding all of our talent in Madison was probably not a great idea. There is certainly a lot of talent here, but limiting ourselves to local recruiting would eventually hold us back. We managed to recruit one person from Philadelphia, and another from Chicago. They came to a small city because they saw opportunity in the job. If you expand your recruiting network and provide a unique opportunity, people will come to a small city. It just takes a little extra effort.
Ryan Healy is the COO/Co-Founder of Brazen Careerist and regularly writes and speaks on all things Gen Y, and Entrepreneurship