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A Publication of WTVP

Much has been written the last few years about the impending labor shortage that will hit central Illinois in a big way by the end of this decade. We have to give a lot of credit to community leaders for bringing this situation to our attention. And while knowledge is power, actions speak louder than words.

As a central Illinois employer, are you taking action? Or are you taking the wait-and-see position? Perhaps you're an employer who's already experiencing the initial ripple of the worker shortage wave with warning signs such as: finding fewer qualified candidates for open positions, time to fill positions is increasing, your best performers are leaving for greener pastures, and turnover is on the rise. Maybe you're one of the employers with an established reputation for being a great place to work. If that's the case, perhaps your workplace practices need to be modeled for others.

Each year, Fortune magazine awards the Top 100 Best Places to Work. While the 2005 list unfortunately doesn't have many employers from Illinois, there's much to be gleaned from the organizations that made the list. The awarding process, as well as the ensuing research, is done through the Great Place to Work Institute (www.greatplacetowork.com), whose mission is to help any company create a great workplace. According to the Institute, in a great workplace, how people are treated adds significantly to the competitive advantages available to the organization. Their research confirms the top 100 companies that make the list experience the following:

How do they do it? These organizations are focused on their people practices and creating a culture of trust. Again, the Institute's research indicates the trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces. The workplace is where employees "trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with." When asked questions about trust, pride, and enjoying co-workers, how would your organization stack up if you were filling out the application for the award?

Don't despair if your organization isn't quite ready to fill out the application. Look at this as an opportunity for improvement and to benchmark against the best in the nation. After all, not all the winners are Fortune 100 companies; some are small employers with 200 or fewer employees. And not all are white-collar companies; there are many winners in the hospitality industry, which is notorious for high turnover.

Any steps you can take to move your organization toward being a great place to work undoubtedly will be instrumental in not only weathering the looming worker shortage crisis, but in helping you gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace and improved financial results. IBI

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