Magazine article Workforce

Can You Be Cool in Omaha? the Article's Author Thinks Yes!

Magazine article Workforce

Can You Be Cool in Omaha? the Article's Author Thinks Yes!

Article excerpt

When I began to research this story, I assumed that cool would be defined very differently depending on the region of the country in which you worked. What I discovered is that the characteristics of cool companies-diversity, integrity and respect-are universal. A company in Omaha could, believe it or not, be just as cool as a company in San Francisco.

Take Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, a Rust Belt manufacturing company if there ever was one. Employees just love building them "Hawgs" because the company is such a great place to work. Voluntary turnover is just 3 percent annually.

However, I also discovered that there are slight differences between geographic regions in terms of the attributes of cool that are considered most important.

Lynn Taylor, vice president and director of staffing at Robert Half International Inc., one of the world's largest specialized staffing firms, put a call out to her regional directors to find out if the characteristics of cool employers differed much by region. Here's what she discovered:

"In [California's] Silicon Valley, the bar has been raised as far as coolness," Taylor explains. "People here are already accustomed to a high level of progressive practices, so companies have to be even more entrepreneurial than usual to attract top-notch people."

Here, the coolest companies are those whose managers support the latest technology. They don't necessarily have to be producing the technology to be considered cool, but they must be using the latest technology in the workplace. …

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