Social Recruiting, 1950′s styleEnglish: First Christian Church in Columbus Indiana. Designed by Eliel Saarinen. Photo by Greg Hume on 11/12/2005.
I learned today that social recruiting existed long before anyone ever began to imagine Mark Zuckerberg, let alone some thing like Facebook. I know this because I heard about it in a story on NPR.
According to their website, Cummins is a multinational Fortune 500 company that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel engines and related technology around the world, while retaining strong ties to their Columbus, Indiana home.
The influence of Cummins on the city of Columbus is truly remarkable. According to the city website, Columbus, Indiana has a population of only 44,000, yet has been ranked 6th in the nation for architectural innovation and design by the American Institute of Architects, immediately behind the much larger cities of Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Visitors to Columbus can see more than 70 buildings and pieces of public art by internationally noted architects and artists, including I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, Dale Chihuly and Henry Moore.
How did all this come about? Quite simply, a brick and mortar driven form of social recruiting, according to NPR.
In the early 1950′s, the Baby Boom was going strong, and Cummins was a growing company trying to recruit engineers from schools like MIT to a small Indiana town in the middle of nowhere.
To solve the problem, Cummins leadership came up with a brilliant solution that solved their recruiting problem and transformed Columbus into one of the most unusual cities in the United States.
The Cummins Foundation made the Columbus school board an offer they couldn’t refuse: If the school system picked an architect from a list of five provided by the foundation, then the foundation would pay that architect’s fees. Ten percent of the cost would be paid by Cummins, not taxpayers; there would be quality buildings and the decision would be made by public officials.
The end result of “….an attractive community for a top workforce is a win-win situation” for both Cummins and Columbus.
Using brick and mortar, and the power of innovative design, Cummins literally transformed their town into an attractive recruiting tool. That’s some serious “social” recruiting!