Improving Talent Attraction and Retention

By:  Sarah Craft

Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) has three focus areas: Allowing regional residents improved access to a postsecondary opportunity, improving success within those programs, and retaining this talent once they’ve completed their certification, as well as attract new talent to the region. When we say “talent”, we’re talking about people with any sort of postsecondary credential, including a professional certification, and degrees including associate, bachelors and beyond.

Detroit Young Professional Mixer

We’re working with incredible partners throughout the region to reach our goal of increasing the number of people with postsecondary degrees to 60 percent by 2025. Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) is one of those partners. DYP is dedicated to strengthening the next generation of regional leaders by providing professional development, civic engagement and networking opportunities. Professional organizations like this do an incredible job getting local people connected to opportunities, as well as providing an effective welcoming mat to area newcomers.

D3’s talent working group is doing research to better identify strengths, challenges and opportunities in regionwide talent attraction and retention. We’ll be promoting a broader talent survey in the next week or two, but we’ve also been looking at national models, research and facilitating one-on-one and focus group discussions to better understand talent needs.

DYP serves on our working group, and we recently attended one of their networking events. With more than 200 people present, we collected useful narratives and perspectives on individuals’ experiences related to talent retention and attraction.

Why Here imageThe biggest takeaway was that region’s opportunity for making an impact and the spirit of our people is what seems to matter most. Whatever possible improvements to talent retention and attraction we come up with will be sure to focus on people, equity and relationship building.

Here are highlights from questions we asked at DYP:

Why do you live in the region?

  • Family
  • To be part of positive changes
  • The spirit of Detroiters
  • Deep roots and pride
  • Career
  • It’s a cool place to live

What are your community’s greatest assets?Best Assets

  • People
  • Activities
  • Walkable communities

How can people get connected to your community?

  • Spend time (and money) at local
    businesses
  • Get involved with a local organization
  • Get out and about to talk to neighbors, attend networking events or joining a recreational sports league
  • Through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social sites like Meetup

Unfortunately, many people weren’t sure how to encourage others to get connected to their community, especially when people lived in smaller suburban communities like Romulus or Roseville.

For residents, new to the region or to those who left for a while and recently returned, we asked:

What made your transition to the region easy?

  • Having a friend, colleague, family member or neighbor as a guide
  • Being curious and open to new experiences
  • Finding a community to be involved in, like the music scene, volunteer opportunity, or an interest-based networking group
  • Looking through social media to find out about events

What made your transition hard?

  • Finding new friends
  • Finding a place to live
  • Outside perceptions of the region, especially related to safety
  • Adjusting to the quality of life, like not having regional transit or the lack of walkable communities

What could have made your transition better?

An easier way to:

  • Make friends and meet new people
  • Find things to do, based on interests or personal recommendations
  • Get information about the region, like where to live based on interests and lifestyle

Stay tuned for our upcoming talent survey and opportunities to get involved in our work. For questions, comments, or ideas, reach out to scraft@detroitchamber.com.