By Anna Skinner
Last month, the Ritz Charles was packed one afternoon with attendees from all four Hamilton Co. Chamber of Commerce – Northern Hamilton Co. Chamber of Commerce, OneZone, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce and Westfield Chamber of Commerce. The all-county luncheon featured Edward Cone, deputy director in the thought leadership group at Oxford Economics. Cone presented research on employers and employees around the nation, and what is to be expected for the future of the workforce.
“I am here to discuss a program we did called Workforce 2020, a global research study about workforce of various type,” Cone said. “It gets in some depth on what’s going on and what you’re experiencing as communities and businesses.”
All four mayors – Scott Fadness, James Brainard, John Ditslear and Andy Cook – were present at the same table, and Cone commented on the county’s sense of community and leadership.
“Your four mayors didn’t have to be here today, they’re doing well on economic development, but they’ve got great leadership and it makes a difference,” Cone said.
Cone touched on topics such as millennial misunderstanding, the new face of work, what matters most to employees and the leadership cliff.
“The workforce is changing, the contingent workforce and non-full time workforce is happening in a big way,” Cone said.
Cone spent time on encouraging the county to continue to do what it is good at, and to focus on the strengths and not its weaknesses. He also made sure the crowd understood what millennials were searching for out in the workforce.
“Millennials want to get paid fairly. Millennial’s concerns in the workforce are very similar to other’s concerns in the workforce,” he said. “Do not treat these people like zoo animals. Respect and understand them.”
Cone opened up time at the end of the luncheon for questions from the audience, some of which asked for advice on how to attract young people to Indianapolis over Portland, Ore. and Chicago, Ill.
“Do what you’re good at,” Cone answered. “I think the way you attract young people is yeah, you say we welcome diversity, have good resources, good night life, but you’re not Portland, you don’t want to be Portland. You’re good at a diversified modern economy with good jobs, good at quality of life and place. Maybe those kids need to go do something else first. You want to make it as attractive as possible for them to return to.”