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Inland Empire Business News by IE Business Daily.003
Inland Empire Business News by IE Business Daily.003

Creative Ways to Attract Quality Talent

By Kraig Strom

We all know there are plenty of corporate buzzwords that need to be shelved, but if there is one buzzword employers should continue to embrace in 2015, it’s “talent.” In the new economy, employees should not merely be regarded as workers; they should be considered the talent a company relies on to stay afloat. In my role as a financial advisor, I regularly coach business owners to attract and retain talented employees as a way of supporting the bottom line and sustaining the business for the long term, no matter what kind of business they have.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that only white collar industries need to regard their employees as talent, but the truth is, the principle should apply to all businesses: white collar, blue collar, no collar. Take Starbucks, for instance: In March 2014, the company launched Bean Stock, a landmark initiative that turned eligible Starbucks employees into partners by providing them an opportunity to share in the financial success of the company through Starbucks stock. Bean Stock is believed to be the first program of its kind in the retail industry, by encouraging partners to act and think like owners of the business and share in the company’s success. Yes, you read correctly: partners, not “staff” or even “team members.” By referring to its baristas as partners, Starbucks is showing employees how much the company values them – and by offering those partners real stock options, the world’s biggest coffee chain is putting its money where its mouth is.

Then there’s the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which offers the company’s thousands of part- and full-time American employees full tuition reimbursement if they complete an undergraduate degree through Arizona State University. Starbucks partners can choose from 40 undergraduate degree programs and have their tuition fully reimbursed by their employer. For a company that estimates it is staffed up to 70 percent by aspiring college students, that’s a real investment in its talent.

Of course, I am aware that Starbucks is one of the most overused corporate examples there is, and in a variety of contexts. So without further ado, here are some other well-known brands that have effectively embraced the principle of recruiting quality talent:

There’s Costco, where everyone from stock clerks to cashiers can earn raises based on hours worked, with twice-annual bonus opportunities. Before you say, “I can’t afford to do that,” remember: We’re just talking about principles that can help your company attract talent. Costco, a company with a story that has inspired many an entrepreneur, can further inspire you to create your own talent recruitment strategy.
There’s also Applebee’s, which holds contests for servers who hit sales benchmarks on specific promotional drinks. This is a great way to attract motivated people with natural sales talents to your restaurant, auto dealership or creative firm – any business that relies on sales benchmarks to survive. Competition can bring out the inner salesman in employees who didn’t even know they had any sales talent, until they tried it.
Finally, there’s Whole Foods. Interestingly, this high-end grocery chain allows employees to vote people on and off their shift teams “Survivor” style – a little unconventional, but it’s the type of thing younger employees like and it can attract energetic professionals with leadership talent.
These are excellent ways to recruit quality talent to a business, but you can devise your own strategies for achieving your talent recruitment goals. How will you attract talented employees to your company in 2015?

Kraig Strom, CFP®, ChFC® is a Certified Financial Planner® at Team Financial Partners in Corona. He can be reached at 877-297-5851, or at

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