Everyone is talking about talent attraction and retention. Every city and economic development organization in the country now has a plan of some kind to attract and retain talent. Every city complains about losing talent to some particular city (I hear about Chicago a lot from my Detroit friends!). It really does not matter if you are talking about the creative economy, the creative city or the creative class. At heart, they all begin with talented, creative, innovative people doing things.
Talent is the fuel and the building block.
And in this "war" for talent, some of the strategies and tactics are really interesting!
I live in St. Petersburg, Florida which is in Tampa Bay. Last month, the Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky came to Tampa, Florida on a recruiting mission. It was really a poaching mission.
The Mayor and several large employers from Louisville sponsored a big party in Tampa called the Louisville Reunion where they worked with their local alumni organizations to identify former Kentucky residents now living in Florida. They brought Kentucky bourbon and the promise of jobs back in Louisville.
Many here, including the Mayor of Tampa, dismissed the event as a non-issue, but to me it was indicative of where things are going. The "war for talent" is starting to turn into a shooting war! We are used to having other communities court our major businesses, but this poaching mission from Louisville seems to signal a new openness towards going after the talented individual.
Historically the role of talent attraction and retention fell to the company. It was wrapped up in your salary, benefits, working conditions, etc. We all know today that that is only part of the total package. Talented workers now want to know about he community and the local culture.
Today, our cities have a direct role to play in the process of talent attraction and retention. They need to be more innovative, creative and maybe aggressive in their efforts to find new ways to go after talent. The Louisville example may seem a bit extreme, but it at least shows that the city and their business community have hooked up and are aggressively looking to work together. Is your city ready to defend its talent from the likes of Louisville?
There is a special session on the City’s Role in Attracting and Retaining Talent at the Creative Cities Summit 2.0, October 12-15 in Detroit.