Metro Atlanta Chamber


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November 5, 2018

Economic Development Leadership Council Examines Next-Generation Talent


Metro Atlanta is a region growing at an exponential rate. Its increasing population and position at the center of the world’s most important markets make it a prime location for next-generation talent eager to enter the workforce.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber hosted the Economic Development Leadership Council, led by Mike Sivewright, president, Atlanta region, JLL, for a discussion on the recruitment, retention and engagement of next-generation talent.

Angela Nation, executive vice president, TRC Professional Solutions, provided her thoughts to council members on young talent from a recruitment perspective. Nation stated that companies seeking to recruit millennial talent should make them feel like they are contributing to the company. This was followed by the key facts: by 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials. Of that, 70 percent of millennials plan to leave their job in two years. For Nation, perks, training, development, growth opportunity and culture are important assets for companies to develop that encourage this next-generation talent to remain on board.

Chris Ahrenkiel, executive vice president, Selig Enterprises, presented on how to attract and retain next-generation talent from a development perspective. Ahrenkiel gave a quick overview of Selig Enterprises, which is currently celebrating their 100-year anniversary this year. Selig has developed over 1,200 buildings in the metro area.

“The goal of a company is to attract and retain talent,” Ahrenkiel said.

He explains that the best way to do this is to focus on location and real estate. For example, when targeting millennials, Midtown would be the best place to open shop due to the area’s high concentration of the age group. Design is another important factor, including increased ceiling height, natural light and space. Amenities such as a lounge area and rooftop decks are also major attractions to millennials.

Gerald Stover, talent acquisition, Pandora, talked about Pandora’s successful HQ move to Atlanta. Stover states that the reason Pandora chose Atlanta over other cities, was because of access to top colleges and universities, the dynamic startup culture, diverse talent pool and rich music history. He stated that another reason why Pandora’s move was so successful was because the space they moved into mirrored the city’s culture and aesthetic, which created an Atlanta experience throughout the office space.

The second part of the meeting consisted of a panel of millennial leaders and their thoughts on recruitment and retention.

Amanda Stevenson, associate director of strategy, Stripe Reputation, said that cross-training is important. Knowing a little bit of everything helps companies achieve success while also making millennials feel like they are a valued. Stevenson also pointed out that companies need to actively solve major deterrents, such as traffic, by incorporating ride share programs and incentives.

Mshon Pullman, business development supervisor, Georgia Power, is a millennial who is hiring the next generation. Pullman highlighted a few key questions that provide insights into the “why” of hiring. Are millennials wanting to join your company for certain benefits? Or are they seeking flexibility?

Ben Warshaw, enterprise consulting manger, SimplePart LLC, emphasized that the main thing he looks for in a company is work and life balance. He stated that the reason for wanting a flexible schedule is so that he can spend time contributing back to the community by being on various council boards and attending events.

For more information on the Economic Development Leadership Council, reach out to Gregg Simon.


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