BE 100s: 5 Lessons On Attracting, Retaining Talent

BE 100s: 5 Lessons On Attracting, Retaining Talent

Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam, founders of BE 100s company, Commonground Marketing (Image: File)

Wright and Islam are scaling the business by exploring new types of industries and diversifying verticals as well as revenue streams outside of the traditional marketing world. “For us it is about evolving the brand and becoming a premier global marketing solutions provider,” says Wright.

Adds Islam:  “One of our biggest competitive advantages is that we bring a unique lens to the marketplace for our clients.”

Utilizing a Colorful Palette

In part, the founders’ success has to do with sticking pretty closely to the business plan that they created in Cancún. The two also attribute their success to the top talent they’ve hired. The agency prides itself on its diverse staff and collaborative environment. The following are Commonground’s takeaways on attracting and retaining the best and the brightest:

1. Stir the pot. Wright and Islam’s staffing philosophy has been to add people that enhance diversity through experiences, skill sets, and perspectives. “We look at the agency like a pot of gumbo–every time you add an ingredient to the pot it should taste better,” says Islam.

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2. Create value for employees. What added value can you bring to your staff? “We had to create a value proposition for them in our career offerings, which was this level of growth opportunities, engagement, and a unique, authentic culture,” says Wright.

3. Create value for clients. The value proposition is providing products or services based on where your industry is going, not where the industry was when you started. “We tell our people we don’t sell, we solve. If you are always solving problems, then you are always creating value,” Wright says.

4. Stay true to who you are. “We had to transfer our company culture to new offices and new people. We knew they wouldn’t be mirror images because each city has its own nuances. But we make sure that each office is following those core values as we grow,” Islam says.

5. Create intellectual capital. Be a catalyst for aspiring entrepreneurs within your midst. Wright and Islam want their employees to go out and start businesses one day. “We are building on the legacy of Chicago, of providing opportunities for businesses to flourish,” Wright says.