okc-skyline-shutterstock_136938245What makes a great company is different for each person. For some, working for a great company may mean a comprehensive benefits package that provides health care for a family. A generous 401(k) match program could woo others. Paid time off, maternity and paternity leave, telecommuting, a creative work environment and on-site day care and medical clinics go a long way to attracting talented and creative employees. And the desire for an employer to attract the best and brightest is one that can create an employee’s market.

[pullquote]In 2014, CNN Money named Oklahoma City the best city in America to launch a startup company, based on a NerdWallet study.[/pullquote]“A great company to work for is one that totally embraces the fact that its talent is the most crucial part of its business success,” says Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “That fact then manifests itself in the way the company treats its people. As well, great companies to work for also appreciate and support the communities in which they reside.”

Happy employees translate to happy residents, says Williams.

“[Happy employees] believe in their community, and they are engaged in facets of it,” he says. “So great companies to work for embrace their employees, embrace their community, support community initiatives and create and encourage employees to support their communities as well.”

In the most recent job satisfaction survey of The Conference Board, less than half of workers in the U.S. are satisfied with their jobs, a trend that has continued for eight straight years. The large percentage of dissatisfied employees should be a wake-up call for employers as well as community and business leaders.

“Employers must continually remember that the talent of today and tomorrow is different than the talent of yesterday,” Williams says. “They have new priorities, new values, and they don’t expect to be a life-long employee.”[pullquote]According to Inc. magazine’s 2014 report, 30 of the country’s 5,000 fastest growing private companies are located in Oklahoma.[/pullquote]

The so-called Millennial generation is having a significant impact on how employers run business. According to a recent survey conducted by Millennial Branding, a research and management consulting firm, the generation accounts for 36 percent of the American workforce; more than 60 percent of those plan on leaving their company in less than three years. This conundrum causes headaches for companies in terms of recruiting and retention of talented Millennials.

“Many companies have different philosophies about how they attract and retain talent,” says Williams. “Some companies strictly use an employee intern program to recruit employees. Some work strictly with employment agencies, others work with education institutions, and others recruit in cities across the country. Basically, they do what works best for them in recruiting the type of talent they need.”

Companies are also diverse in how they strategize to retain that talent.


[pullquote]In addition to being the Aviation Capital, Oklahoma City is also the Energy Capital with industry leaders such as Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Continental Resources and SandRidge Energy. – Greater Oklahoma City Chamber[/pullquote]“They range from innovative financial incentives, to wide-ranging benefits, to innovative working environments, to new education opportunities, to flexible work times and environments,” says Williams.

He adds that Oklahoma City has plenty of great companies that offer attractive benefits and incentives that can both entice and retain the best and brightest.

“Oklahoma City is a great place because it has become rich with quality of opportunity,” he says. “People can pursue a wide variety of interests here, people and organizations are very open and welcoming to others and the cost of living here is well below the national average.”

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