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Workforce issues continue to dominate our business community’s conversations and while much attention is paid to growing talent through the public school system and attracting experienced professionals to the region, there is a third way. In its work to meet workforce needs, the Chamber is also focusing on retaining and engaging young professionals already in our community.
The Network was formed in 2007 to better engage Springfield’s young professional population. Today, The Network plays a key role in retaining talented professionals under 40 and also serves as the link between college students and business community. With nearly 500 members, The Network is the single largest resource for young professionals in the area.
Benefits for members
Network membership provides tremendous benefits to young professionals. Members get a level of access that those under 40 may not otherwise have, to local business leaders and decision makers and to exclusive events and behind the scenes tours. Younger professionals new to the area or entering their first professional role gain the advantage of expanding their personal and professional network.
The greatest benefit of Network membership is one that may not be fully realized for years to come. Becoming connected to one another early on gives our community’s future leaders a distinct edge over those not currently building relationships with peers. Network members are building relationships now with future CEOs, elected officials and community leaders. Membership investment pays for itself several times over as members continue to climb the ranks and don’t have to spend precious time building relationships from the ground up.
Benefits for employers
The benefits of Network membership don’t end with the member. Research shows that when asked about factors that contribute to job satisfaction, younger employees rank high the opportunity for professional development and the option to be engaged in professional organizations. Organizations often don’t have the resources to provide ongoing and effective programming for employees, and The Network is a great way to meet that need. Engaged employees are proven to be happier, more productive and more loyal to their employer.
Additionally, employers benefit from having employees actively engaged in the community as a representative of their organization and brand.
Springfield is fortunate to have a growing young professional population and a steady stream of young people moving to the area for educational opportunities. However, our ability to retain these bright young professionals depends heavily on our efforts to connect with them and get them plugged into the broader community.
Employers would be wise to see the value in paying for their employees to join The Network not only to represent their organization, but also to increase employee engagement and connectedness to the community.
If your employees aren’t part of The Network, enroll them today! Their $100 annual membership fee is all-inclusive and provides access to more than 25 programs throughout the year. For more information about how you can support our talent retention efforts please contact Paige Oxendine.