Finding and Attracting the Right Talent

Colorado is among the top  10 fastest-growing states in the U.S., according to USA TODAY. And, with the unemployment rate at historic lows in Colorado (3 percent) and nationwide (3.9 percent), finding and hiring the right employees for your organization is becoming increasingly challenging.

A recent panel discussion at Metropolitan State University of Denver, moderated by Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, highlighted how some of Colorado’s leading companies (that all happen to be hiring right now) are working upstream to build a skilled workforce for the future.

Among the panelists was Shane Portfolio, senior vice president of technical operations & engineering for the Comcast West Division.

“Even though there are plenty of jobs to fill, and more people are moving to Colorado, there is a gap in workforce readiness that results in job seekers who are not necessarily equipped with the skills they need to be successful in the jobs that are available,” Portfolio said. “This gap can lead some companies to recruit out-of-state talent to fill the highly skilled and expert positions.”

Certain positions require specialized trainings or advanced degrees, but there are many other soft skills to look for in a candidate, which will showcase an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit an employer can tap to move the business forward.

Ken Klaer, senior vice president of Comcast Technology Solutions and Strategic Infrastructure based in Denver, notes he “personally like[s] candidates who are eager and engaged, and who know how to gracefully handle – and learn from – failure.”

Finding candidates who thrive on exploring what’s next and are passionate about achieving success through new and creative means are invaluable to an organization.

Also look to hire people who are open and creative.

“There are a lot of smart, hard-working people out there, but the competitive advantage comes with those who are able to bridge their intelligence and drive with creativity and help businesses unlock new ways to engage consumers and grow,” said Rich Jennings, senior vice president of Comcast Mountain West Region.

Equally important to finding the right talent is becoming an employer of choice to attract top talent. That means focusing on creating a culture of equity and inclusion to build a diverse workforce.

When an employer’s leaders are focused on creating an equitable and inclusive environment, the benefits to employee recruitment and retention are significant. Here are traits of equitable, inclusive workplaces:

  • Organization personifies diversity at all levels, from the c-suite to the frontline staff.
  • Clear, comprehensive system exists for conflict resolution; all policies and procedures are transparent.
  • The company engages with and invests in the community the company serves.
  • Company culture prizes continuous learning and personal growth.
  • Company is consistent across the board in its interactions with employees.
  • Diversity and inclusion are accepted as a way of life and articulated as central to company culture.
  • Company accepts and embraces change.

Employers can also build that talent pipeline by collaborating and engaging with community partners and educational institutions:

  • Have top executives serve on boards of nonprofit organizations, community colleges and universities (particularly if they are alumni).
  • Support educational institutions to create and develop curricula that builds skills your workers

    • For example, Comcast worked with the University of Colorado Denver to create
      the Comcast Media and Technology Center, which offers special curriculum designed to help cultivate the technical and creative skills necessary for the 21st-century workplace.
  • Partner with local organizations that align with your business and involve your employees in volunteerism.

When finding and retaining talent Klaer says, “You can’t just focus on one thing. That means you need to offer great packages, you need to provide an amazing, welcoming workplace culture and environment and you need to provide employees with a steady stream of interesting, inspiring work.”

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