HR Guidelines | Employee Retention Tips

By: Jill St Claire

The real question is -- how do they perceive the options available: minimum wage retail sales, join a branch of the U.S. Military, the family farm, or just hanging out with their friends who are in the same situation.

Some, through their own entrepreneurial activities, see options for working from home or for business opportunities in their own community. Most however, are just glad to have found a good job somewhere, and “somewhere" usually isn’t Humboldt County even though leaving home isn’t what they really want.

The editor William Vitek says in his essay, Community And The Virtue Of Necessity, "What keeps a community together is the inability of its members to leave, either because of the dangers that lie outside the community--a forbidding desert or an enemy clan, for example--or the ties that lie within the community--traditions, laws, fear of being cast out, rejected, or destroyed." In recent times that has been mitigated (or weakened) by technology: automobiles, telephones, outside investments, ties to state and federal assistance programs, but some people do not feel that they can ever leave and continue a constant cycle of struggling with finding a means for economic security.

For many of Humboldt County’s residents, their identities are heavily intertwined with their community. The importance placed on where they live and what keeps them there (other than “we can’t just move the farm") seems to be the tranquility, the natural beauty, the perceived lack of crime, and most importantly, the people and relationships.

To prevent the loss of our productive population and the slow death of many of Humboldt County’s smaller communities, as we’ve seen happen with all too many, we have an enormous responsibility to make this place matter enough for our young talented people to want to stay or return after attending college elsewhere.

By garnering our connection to the technological age and educating our youth about the unlimited entrepreneurial possibilities technology offers, we provide opportunity and a mechanism for our youth to succeed. Having a job that makes use of the skills acquired in college would be an important step in keeping them here and luring those who’ve left back home.

While technology and the Internet alone may not revive an entire community, it can provide a good income in places where there are few traditional new jobs. Some good examples are: the GIS expert working from home in Hilo, Hawaii; pack goat supplies in Weippe, Idaho; the Tionesta students selling digital stories; the small ISP in Imperial, Nebraska; the future Spanish language institute being formed in Elsa, Texas; and the marketing of fine wood products in Orofino, Idaho.

A lot of us came here to escape citified life, to lose ourselves in a less populated territory. We strive to balance old traditions with our perceived understanding of the world beyond the Redwoods. That world is focused on the technological age. That world is focused on rapid changes. Along with our desire to remain removed from metropolitan mania, the fact is that economics factor into the equation and we now know that Humboldt County, in order to survive, must jump on board the technology train so that people here will be able to participate in education, economic pursuits . . . . the American way of life, without having to leave home.

Technology development is absolutely crucial to include in any economic planning. Just as it was unthinkable a century ago to plan for new enterprises without considering electricity, 21st century economies, whether national or village level, must include networked information technology. It is difficult to imagine how a town, county, company, state, region, can compete against, or work effectively with counterparts unless they are networked and much of the populace is conversant with the technologies.

It’s been proven that technology changes people's lives. It lessens a person's isolation, businesses large and small can be run from home using a web server and low cost tools and services developed for just such a market, and electronic tools can help bind groups together in order to get a project completed much faster than using only the phone and postal mail for communication.

Doesn’t it also stand to reason that advanced technology brings new business to Humboldt County, that e-commerce can revitalize “main street" by increasing small business revenue resulting in lower failure rates, that it will make it possible for more young people to return home after college, and that it will transform the way we citizens relate to and form our government?

Jill St Claire, Founder
JSC MarketingArticle Search, LLC

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