What keeps CEOs up at night? According to new research by The Conference Board, failure to attract and retain talent is at the top of the list, and innovation isn’t far behind. In December 2015, voluntary quits rose to nearly 3.1 million, the highest level since December 2006. For HR practitioners charged with battling these challenges, it’s time to raise the curtain on businesses’ secret weapon: the arts.
Build it and they will come.
Des Moines had an image problem. Creative millennials were leaving the city after graduation for more vibrant communities. To solve the problem, the city’s businesses banded together to fund The Des Moines Social Club, which now hosts over 700 events a year, manages four resident theater companies, and helps sustain many arts organizations in the city. The transformation is evident. In 2014, Fortune named Des Moines the #1 City with an Up-and-Coming Downtown and Forbes named Des Moines the #1 Best City for Young Professionals. The robust arts scene has helped creative employees see Des Moines as more than just cornfields.
Remember, inspired employees bring creativity to work.
Just as creative employees want live in a vibrant community, they crave a culturally rich work environment. An engaging company culture is a crucial asset for businesses competing for top talent. Facebook, for example, not only offers employees opportunities to take art classes but, like many companies of all sizes, it employs an artist-in-residence to help inspire creativity and present new ways for employees to think about their work. Other businesses like The Standard insurance company host employee art shows to engage employees, empowering them to exercise their creative skills and pursue their artistic passions.
Embrace diversity and open-mindedness.
According to a 2015 survey from Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the research arm of Talent Management magazine, "Almost three-quarters of human resources practitioners see diversity and inclusion as a strategic enabler for their companies' business strategy." Celebrating diversity communicates to employees and future employees that your business embraces an open exchange of ideas. Utility company PECO, for example, hosts multicultural events in Philadelphia, not only contributing to the city’s appeal, but also promoting its commitment to diversity in a visible way. Other businesses express their commitment to diversity by displaying corporate art collections in their lobbies.
Take your employee communications cue from “AutoZone the Opera.”
Employee communication is key to retaining talented employees. Regardless of the industry, arts-training not only helps staff communicate better with one another, but artful messaging is more likely to hold employees’ attention. At AutoZone’s 2013 and 2014 national conferences, the company partnered with Opera Memphis to produce “AutoZone: The Opera.” The performances reminded employees about the company’s values and customer service procedures in a fun, memorable way.
Supporting the arts is not a new concept for America’s businesses, but in order to solve today's pressing human capital issues, HR practitioners need to tap into their own creativity and put the arts to work.
The pARTnership Movement is an initiative from Americans for the Arts to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Want to learn more?