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Want to keep talent here in Boston? Bring heart into business!

Posted by Devin Cole  October 12, 2011 12:22 PM

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Mike Lake.jpgMassachusetts, with more than one hundred colleges and universities, has the privilege and responsibility of welcoming students from all over the country and the world to our community. As the intellectual hub of America, the Commonwealth excels in attracting incredible talent.

The question remains, though, of how can we integrate students into our community more effectively so that, upon graduation, they are equipped with the network and skills to secure high-quality jobs right here in Massachusetts.

In order for Massachusetts to remain a powerful talent-based economy, it is essential that we be more creative in how we engage our students during their college years. Students now entering college are part of the most socially conscious generation that America has seen in decades. They measure their success by the impact they have in their community now and will ultimately have throughout their careers. Tapping into this widespread social consciousness is the key to bettering our Commonwealth by providing these graduates with job opportunities that acknowledge and cultivate their drive for social impact.

Each of the speakers at the Building a Better Commonwealth: New Rules for Leading Talent forum on September 29th offered solutions as to how those tasked with managing young, capable workers could best leverage the skills they possess.

Andy Atkins of Interaction Associates stressed the need to build trust amongst workers. His three-year study found that the most successful companies were those that abandoned the top-down managerial model and instead stressed collaboration.

TruePoint Partners’ Russ Eisenstat examined individual leaders of thriving companies. He found that those who invested more in their workers initially and created a diverse work environment had a higher profit margin than those who did not focus on their workers. It is my hope that businesses across the Commonwealth hear these findings and, if necessary, adjust their workplace practices accordingly so they will continue to thrive and grow.

Raj Sisodia of the Concious Capitalism Institute offered some of the most relevant and insightful commentary of the night. He acknowledged that the key to a thriving work environment was to bring “heart” into the business world. Aligning workers around a higher sense of purpose creates a sense of collaboration and leverages the desire of young, talented workers to make a difference. Humans, he said, are not a resource, but a renewable source of energy.

The night concluded with a panel discussion that brought together some of Boston’s business leaders: Jason Robart of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bob Nicoson of Constant Contact, Karen Kaplan of Hill Holiday, and Linda Stewart of Interaction Associates. The value and potential of our Commonwealth’s talent pool was demonstrated by Bob Nicoson, who explained that Massachusetts has served Constant Contact well by providing the best talent, which led to the hiring of more than 600 people since 2008.

The bottom line is that the key to successfully building a better Commonwealth is to retain talent by creating innovative engagement opportunities for young people and altering traditional managerial styles to appeal to their sense of purpose. Massachusetts must create a strong, welcoming and supportive environment in which our students become part of this vibrant community long before they graduate and long into their careers.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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