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Strong Colorado Economy and Low Unemployment Create Tug of War for Talent

5 ways to attract and retain employees and grow business


The Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report shows new business filings and existing renewals in Colorado are up in 2018, indicating strong job growth should continue for the remainder of the year. At the same time, Colorado's unemployment has sat below 3 percent, keenly tipping the market in favor of employees.

Finding talent to grow Colorado's economy is growing increasingly challenging. So, how can companies expand in such a tight employee market? Many old recruiting and hiring practices are no longer effective today. 

Here are five tips to build the best talent team to grow your company:


You're not just selling your product or service to customers. You're creating and selling an authentic culture to current and potential employees. Competition is tough. How do you offer a better place to work? If you've created an environment where employees are heard, valued and respected, you've got a clear competitive advantage to tout. Go beyond vetting candidates to selling them on a genuine culture you've established. 


Yes, salary is critical; but choosing the next great job is not solely a financial decision. Employees want to know their work matters. They want to be challenged and learn with a great team of collaborators who are passionate . They want to work for someone who cares and gives back.


Posting a job on your company's website and a few job sites used to bring in resumes. Today, not so much. While this method is a critical piece of the puzzle, you're only pulling from potential candidates who are actively looking for a job. Expand your search to include people who are not actively looking. Be creative by digging deeper into the functions of the tools you already use, like LinkedIn and Google. For example, use Boolean search techniques to find highly qualified candidates.


Finding new talent is time-consuming, stressful and expensive. What can you do to build your ideal team with the people you already employ? The answer comes from taking an honest look at what you're doing well and what can be improved. 

Do you have a leadership team that is transparent, collaborative and in close communication with employees? Do employees clearly know what is expected of them and how their work is of critical importance to the greater good? Are there processes in place for employees to provide feedback to leadership that is heard and considered? Does leadership have a good pulse on what employees want? 


Hiring managers and internal recruiters are great resources when staffing up, but when a company's need outpaces the bandwidth of internal resources, outside recruiters can help companies grow their teams. Before you begin working with a recruiting company, get to know the lay of the land to find an honest recruiting partner that can scale with your fluctuating growth needs. There are two basic recruiting models, and lots of variations within each.

Traditional recruiters work on a contingency model, meaning they are paid a commission of 20 percent to 30 percent of the employee's first-year salary. Not only can this become cost prohibitive, especially when you're hiring at scale, it also motivates the recruiter to make placements, even if the candidate is not the right fit for your culture. Alternatively, other recruiting companies work on an hourly basis, meaning you simply pay for the time it takes to find the best employee. In this model, the recruiting company's motivation comes from finding the right long-term employee for you, rather than chasing the short-term windfalls of the commission model.

Peggy Shell is the founder and CEO of Creative Alignments, a disruptor in the recruiting services space and the creator of Time-Based Recruiting™. Shell began her recruiting career as the HR director at Tesser, a nationally recognized design agency. In 2010, she founded Creative Alignments to provide a smarter alternative to the traditional contingency model of recruiting. With 25 employees and offices in Boulder, Denver, Austin and Chicago, Creative Alignments has become the go-to recruiting partner for late-stage start-ups and businesses nationally and internationally. You can reach Shell at 303.835.9066 or peggy@creativealignments.com.

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