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Attracting Talent from Generations Y and Z

The series of workforce trends now known as the "Great Resignation" have shone a new light on the role of leadership in business. It is now clear that millions of people across the nation are not happy with how their employers and managers treat them, and they are voting with their feet. We at the Chamber know that this impacts our members, who often have small, tightly-knit teams in their employ.

Lately, your Chamber has been talking about keeping teams together, retaining the skills and knowledge that each individual brings, and making sure our businesses are increasingly attractive to the inbound workforce - comprised of millennials and gen z.  In addition to the tips below about developing a culture that fosters integrity, influence and impact, consider this recent presentation by Bloomsburg's own Shawn Kessler, Partner, Recruitment Division of Aloysius, Butler & Clark, one of the east coast's leading full-service marketing and advertising firms.

Shawn specializes in physician recruitment and knows the market - he's won the American Medical College's Award of Distinction, was featured in Health Leaders Media, and speaks about recruitment strategies around the country.  Best of all, Shawn is home-grown - he's Columbia County native and a Chamber member with an office in Bloomsburg.

We were thrilled to connect with him at our "Rise & Thrive: Business Wellness" Breakfast, sponsored by Geisinger, and hosted on the lovely patio of the Elmdale Inn B&B.  Check out Shawn's recruitment advice for the area's employers (roughly 35 minutes):

Need more than what Shawn shared?  Here are even more tips about fostering a culture that's attractive to employees:

What is Inclusive Leadership?

Inclusive leadership is where leaders ensure that all their team members:

  • Feel a sense of value and belonging
  • Are treated fairly and equitably
  • Are provided with the resources they need to thrive and succeed

An inclusive leader will be aware of their biases and will seek out other perspectives different from their own to inform decisions and allow closer collaboration. However, there must be a real commitment to the process, or employees will quickly realize and become disengaged.

Fostering an Inclusive Culture

The first step to fostering an inclusive culture is trust. Managers and business owners need to trust that their team members have the skills to do their jobs and create successful outcomes. Avoiding micromanagement is crucial to this as continually checking up on employees erodes trust quickly.

The next step is empowerment, allowing your employees to work on new projects that build their skillset and enable them to explore their potential. Having a good knowledge of your team's skills will allow you to put people together with complementary skills.

3 Traits of an Inclusive Leader

If you don't have them already, incorporating these three traits into your leadership approach is vital to developing inclusive leadership.


To make a difference as an inclusive leader, you need to display absolute integrity and be aligned with your organization's core beliefs and values.


Managing performance is more than simply checking up on your staff to ensure they're doing their jobs properly. Instead, inclusive leaders use coaching and focused training initiatives to influence their teams and bring out the best in them.


A vital part of an inclusive leader's task is ensuring that everyone is working toward the organization's overall strategic plan. They accomplish this by ensuring that the entire team is focused and working together to achieve the outcomes outlined in that plan.

Bringing the Generations Together

A significant challenge for the inclusive leader is bringing together the working ethics of the different age groups now within the workplace. For example, those from the baby boomer generation generally have tendencies to prefer working within strictly structured systems. At the same time, those from Generation Z want to find value in their work and prefer more flexible approaches. The best inclusive leaders can listen to both these groups and tie their strengths together.

In conclusion, the greatest strengths of the inclusive leader are listening, strategizing, and organizing. If you can listen to and learn something from each of your employees, you can better strategize and organize to have everyone working together in a harmonious team. With these approaches, productivity and employee retention will naturally improve.

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