Driving Economic and Organizational Growth in Tucson

The key to promoting economic growth in any region is leveraging the area’s inherent strengths, drawing business to the area, and attracting and retaining the talent needed to support this growth. Let’s break this down to determine how these factors play out in Greater Tucson.

Leaning into Tucson's Might

Arizona is endowed with not one but three universities, each boasting degree programs that feed directly into regional industry. At the University of Arizona, Aerospace, Defense, Space, Mining, and Bioscience play a critical role. University of Arizona Center For Innovation works on tackling current issues, such as the efficiency and purity challenge surrounding reclaimed water, a critical advancement in supporting Tucson industries, especially mining. Arizona State University has focused on developing their engineering programs, aiding virtually all sectors in the region. To Tucson’s benefit, both the state legislature and the Board of Regions have committed to supporting investment in these higher ed programs that contribute to the current and future economy.

Attracting Business to Greater Tucson

The second factor in this three-tiered approach is making the region an appealing one for companies to call home. Kevin Burke, Deputy Director of Economic Issues for Tucson, regularly works with site selectors of potential businesses to posit the many attributes the region offers. While there is innate appeal in Tucson’s low tax rate and cost of living, it isn’t the full solution, as proven by Silicon Valley’s continued appeal despite its overpriced reputation. And the reality is that some organizations need a larger metropolitan hub, like that of Phoenix or San Diego, to support the type of business they run. Kevin argues there are variables working in favor of Tucson, however, and it’s his job to communicate them clearly. In addition to the aforementioned modest tax rate and living costs, the lower price of labor and building construction, along with incentives the city can extend to prospective businesses, combine to make Tucson the attractive location that it is.

Rethink your Talent Strategy

The other essential piece in galvanizing growth is a clear and compelling talent strategy. Devon Underwood, Founder and Principal of Tucson’s the Talent Store, argues that a key ingredient in attracting companies to Tucson’s economy is our community’s ability to attract and retain mid-level talent and future thinking leaders. How to do this?  Focus on moving the needle on the issues this sector cares about: affordable housing, upwardly mobile wages, K-12 education, and a thriving arts, culture, and activities scene. 

For the majority small and mid-sized companies in Tucson now, the key to attraction and retention lies in taking a new look at company culture, compensation, benefits and perks, and telling the organization’s story in a compelling way.  This sounds easy, but it can be a HUGE lift for HR and hiring managers who are already stretched thin.  Rather than “post and pray” – listing jobs and hoping for a response – the ability to calibrate the skills/experience/style needed and create an advertising and outreach plan that is grounded in telling the organization’s story, values, and impact is what sets top companies apart in the competition for talen. Within that work, Devon believes there are missed opportunities that can be corrected with the right strategic partner

Whether using storytelling for a community or an organization, the power is in knowing: 

1. Who you are, what you have to offer, and who you are needing to attract

2. Articulating and matching the opportunities, impact, mission, and lifestyle with the talent you are targeting

3. Being creative in how and where the message is delivered. 

Devon and her team attribute the successful growth of their client partners to storytelling and strategic advertising and out reach – understanding the organization deeply and telling the story about the role, the organization, and the community they are in.  The goal is always,  whether the person gets the job or makes the move (or not), they wish they had and the door is open for future opportunities. 

If you’d like to discuss succession planning, talent attraction, recruiting, or retention strategies to support your growing business a, book a time to talk with Devon HERE. She can also be reached at info@yourtalentstore.com or (520) 829-0051. Devon and her team of professionals are experienced working with companies of all sizes.

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