Blue Ox Success Series: Attract and Keep your Best Talent: A Three Part Series

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 (1:00 PM - 2:00 PM) (CDT)


Success Series: Attract and Keep your Best Talent: A Three Part Series
Given the critical hiring challenges in the Brainerd Lakes Area and beyond, businesses and organizations are becoming more creative and purposeful in their methods to attract and retain. Learn from Kristen and Erin of PeopleSpark who have a combined 40 years of experience in the HR community and local business leaders who are successful in hiring and retaining talent.

Who Should Attend:

  • Business Owners, Managers and Department Supervisors
  • Entrepreneurs
  • HR Professionals

Session 1: September 14, 9-10am
One Simple Tool to Attract More Candidates
(Spoiler Alert: This Tool Does More Than Just Attract Candidates)

You drive through town and see the signs ‘Now Hiring’.  Everyone is hiring.  Have you ever noticed how all those signs look alike? 
In a market where applicants are difficult to find, how do you differentiate yourself from the pack?  In this session we will discuss a tool to better market your business to attract more candidates. 
Spoiler Alert: The same tool will also help you KEEP the employees you have. 


  • One Simple Tool: The Questions
  • Gather information to better market your business to potential candidates.
  • Use the same tool to keep the employees you have. 

Session 2: September 28, 10-11am
The Hiring Process: You May Be Desperate, But Don’t Act Desperate

Have you found that your process to hire employees has changed? Your standards have gotten lower? You focus more on whether a candidate has a pulse than if they have any relevant skills?   If so, you are not alone. 
Here’s the thing, as you lower the standard, new employees meet that lowered standard when they show up for work. In this session we will discuss how to structure the interview process in a way that communicates your expectations and how to listen in an interview to identify the best candidates.  In addition, we will cover how to onboard new employees at the standards and expectations you need for your business to be successful.  


  • Create interview questions to communicate your expectations. 
  • Listen to responses in an interview to identify ideal candidates.
  • Onboard new employees based on your culture and expectations (beyond training for the job).

Session 3: October 19, 1-2pm
It’s Tough to Recruit.  It’s Even Tougher to Replace Your Key Employees When They Leave. 
Who Will Leave You Next?  And What Can You Do To Keep Them… 

Engagement is a buzz word these days.  You know that as a business owner or manager, you need to engage your employee so you can retain them.  But what does that really mean?  What specific steps can you take to engage them?  And how much is it really going to cost you? 
In this session we will discuss the 8 key factors for engagement and share specific steps you can take to impact the engagement of your employees (…..and they don’t have to cost you a thing).   


  • 8 Key Factors of Engagement
  • Align employee work with the goals of the business.
  • Provide feedback and recognition to employees. 


Please send any current questions regarding workforce shortage, recruitment, retention, and engagement to Paula Chapulis ( at the Chamber.  Although we will be answering questions throughout the session, any questions sent prior will help us prepare for the session.  

All Sessions on Zoom: Upon registration Zoom links will be emailed.  

About the Speakers:

Founders Kristen Ireland and Erin Mies are human resources experts who know that simple, practical HR processes can boost a company’s bottom line and increase profits and margins. The People Spark Consulting team works with small business clients to implement smart systems and create a thriving company culture where everyone has shared values and goals.
You can visit our website to learn more about the company, read our full bios, and check out our latest blog posts. We share a monthly blog and a newsletter with our subscribers. You’ll also find us on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Kristen and Erin collectively have 40+ years’ human resources experience and have a passion for simple, practical solutions.  In addition to co-owning People Spark Consulting, Kristen and Erin are adjunct faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s School for Labor and Employment Relations.

About the Blue Ox Business Academy and Success Series:
With support from Anderson Brothers Construction, the Blue Ox Business Academy delivers local, affordable and high-quality training that strengthens our community by helping businesses succeed. By investing in yourself or your employees, you achieve the highest possible returns in enhanced skills, confidence and job satisfaction. Blue Ox trainers are professional presenters with engaging personalities and real-world experience. Participants make great peer connections and leave with tools and ideas to immediately put into action. 



Free to Members
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Meeting ID: 863 2502 0523

Passcode: 757316

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021 (1:00 PM - 2:00 PM) (CDT)

October 19, 1-2pm on Zoom

Brainerd Lakes Chamber Event
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