Top Tips to Attract and Retain Talent in Today’s Workforce

As the leaves change and the crisp fall air starts to settle into the peak of autumn season, it is time to start thinking about what’s on the hiring horizon for 2017.

Recently, The Columbus Chamber brought together experts in the subject of Talent & Workforce at the October session of the Chamber’s Leadership for Small Business Breakfast series. They spoke about strategy and tactics of recruitment and retention. Here are a couple of key takeaways that we think you should be thinking about as you prepare for the new year.

“Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to dig the well.” – Jake Meyers, Propel Marketing, Channel Sales Manager

Usually when your team is growing, you want to hire someone ASAP, and if it were possible, you would have them start yesterday. Teams experience these growing pains, but as Talent & Workforce panelist Jake Meyers advised, “Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to dig the well…Your 2017 business plan should have how many people you want to recruit in the next year.”

Nora Gerber
Nora Gerber

It is important to plan out how many people you want to add to your team in order to be intentional to attract top talent for your open positions.

This goes for interns, too. Do you have a project that a student can complete within a summer? If so, a summer intern might be a great addition for your office. Think about it, but start thinking about it now. Larger companies in the Columbus region already started recruiting for their summer internship programs. Don’t let this scare you. Instead, create a plan of action to implement at the start of 2017 to attract fresh, amazing talent for the summer. Hint: start recruitment efforts in February and March to get a larger pool of candidates.

Development and continued education will make for a more engaged team.

We expect that a common workforce theme for 2017 will be investing in your workforce through opportunities like professional development and continued education sessions. At the Chamber’s event, Dawson’s President Jeff Miller explained, “The new workforce needs to have challenge, change and movement to prevent turnover.”

This means creating a positive work environment and providing unique opportunities. This can include creating leadership opportunities, engaging with your team personally by remembering work anniversaries and birthdays, as well as sending your staff to sessions or events that help to enhance their skill sets. What are some ways you can create a more productive and positive work environment for your employees?

If you’ve made the decision to hire an intern, make sure they are also engaged with your company! This is important because, like your other associates, they will become ambassadors of your brand. They will most likely tell their friends and family how much they like working for your business. Utilize this organic approach and have Lunch n’ Learns, mini field trips, and treat them like an integral asset to the team.

Utilize community partners and organizations. 

Columbus prides itself on being collaborative, so use your community resources to your advantage! Organizations like Dawson are third party recruiters and can help you with your talent needs. There are also other nonprofits in Columbus that directly help with workforce development like Jewish Family Services and Goodwill Columbus.

If you are a nonprofit that wants to employ an intern, look for grants that fund students to work in your offices.

Finally, don’t forget to use the Columbus Chamber as a resource, too! We offer access to data, insight into best people practices, as well as tips on how to recruit and engage interns. Share your best practices with us or contact us to have a conversation and for more information!

— The Columbus Chamber of Commerce provides access to the connections, resources and solutions you need to help start and grow your business. Learn more about the Chamber at —