When you can’t find an industry peer group, create your own!

by | Feb 15, 2018 | Recruitment & Relocation

Almost everyone I know belongs to a national association that is specific to their industry and provides them with on-going training, continuing ed, peer networks, national and regional conferences, trade journals to share stories and ideas, group purchasing power, and more.
So, what do you do when your company’s niche is so narrow and specific that none of the associations out there work for you? I’ve attended my fair share of conferences and meetings where only 10% of the content shared applies to my business. It just doesn’t feel like a good use of my time. So, about 10 years ago, we created our own group. We call it The Council, but we might need a better name for public consumption. Although, there’s a group in town that calls themselves The No Name Group, and everyone in the HR/talent attraction world in NE Ohio knows exactly who they are, so maybe our name isn’t so far off!
The members of The Council are coming to Cleveland in early May for two days of idea sharing and brainstorming.  As we began planning, we were inspired by the video our counterpart in St. Louis created to describe his business. In less than two minutes, it summarizes what we all do in such a beautiful way!
We have all struggled with our “elevator speeches.”  This video helps clarify what EA does. When someone asks what I do, I usually respond with, “We increase the likelihood of your out-of-town candidate saying yes to a job offer that requires them to relocate to Cleveland or Akron. And once they are here, we do what we can to make them stay put.”  Then the questions begin. Are you a headhunter? No. Do you work for the chamber of commerce? No. Are you a consultant? Sort of.
Then I’ll share a story like this: Last week we got a call from a manufacturing company who had just hired a new Vice President. He would be relocating from Pittsburgh with his wife and 14 year-old son, neither of whom was thrilled to be moving to Cleveland. Our job was to insure that the whole family would be happy to live here. We will help find neighborhoods that match their lifestyle/criteria, set up school appointments for the son to see various available options, and connect them to other transplants who came from Pittsburgh and lived to tell about it. We do this all in just 1-2 days with highly customized immersions so the family can easily visualize living happily in Cleveland. We woo, educate, connect, and acclimate. We stay in touch during that first critical year. We are like Match.com but for people moving to NE Ohio!
Then more questions: Do you have realtors on staff? Nope. Do you help with the logistics of the actual move? Nope. Do you really provide matchmaking services? Not that kind!
We are the warm hug around the family that convinces a reluctant candidate to say yes to the job 90% of the time. We are the support system for newcomers – connecting them to like-minded people and providing valuable settling-in resources regarding their interests, passions, hobbies, children, spouses’ careers, and more.
I can’t wait until my peers arrive in Cleveland so we can spend two days learning from each other!
Are you in a unique industry? How have the few in your industry banded together to strengthen your industry?