Human Resources

GRAPE event focuses on human capital trends

Generational attitudes in the workplace will be one of two topics of discussion.

January 23, 2015
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The local organization for working professionals will focus its attention on human capital trends in its first monthly event in 2015, featuring presentations by local business leaders.

Grand Rapids Area Professionals for Excellence, a nonprofit providing collaborative learning opportunities for business professionals, will host an event Jan. 29 in the Grand Rapids Community Foundation building, 185 Oakes St. SW, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

As part of its series of educational and networking events featuring local business and thought leaders, the GRAPE event will focus on topics related to the human resources field. The event begins with networking before the presentations by local business professionals. The two speakers featured are Dan Barcheski, CEO of Axios Inc., and Lorraine Medici, director of training and development at Express Employment Professionals.

John Potter, executive director of GRAPE, said the event structure includes a question and answer period after each speaker to create discussion with members of the audience.

“A lot of the people who come to GRAPE events tend to be independent business people and less corporate types,” said Potter. “There are a lot of human resources people that come to our events, especially in staffing and recruiting, so there is that mix. We are trying to get a little bit of a discussion going on about changes in the employment scene.”

As CEO and founder of Axios, Barcheski has developed the organization into the fourth-largest privately held employer in the region delivering personalized employment solutions, according to its website. Originally founded in 1988 as Staffing Inc., Axios has grown to provide a number of human resources and outsourcing services for small to medium-sized businesses. Barcheski will speak on “Elephants and Fleas: Employment of the Future.”

Medici’s presentation, “Playing Nice in the Generational Sandbox: Faces of Change,” focuses on generational changes in the employment scene, according to Potter. Joining Express Employment in 2014 as a client relationship manager, Medici works closely with companies to address talent needs and create solutions based on challenges.

“I thought those two topics would be really relevant to both HR professionals and perhaps people seeking employment, to a certain extent,” said Potter. “I think there are a lot of changes in terms of generational attitudes that are kind of underneath the surface affecting the work place. Along with that, there is the whole shift in people moving out of the workplace and working part-time.”

Based on personal observation, Potter went on to say he has noticed a growing number of individuals juggling two or more part-time jobs, with one position they are truly passionate about while the other maintains a steady source of income.

Although there has been a lot of discussion regarding the difference in generational attitudes, Potter said it was a topic he wanted to explore further. Deloitte, a professional services firm, published a March 7 report, Global Human Capital Trends 2014, based on a survey of more than 2,500 respondents in approximately 90 countries, which indicated the multi-generational workforce from shifting demographics was among the top critical trends shaping the human capital field for 2014 and into the future.

The Jan. 29 event is open to the public and costs approximately $8 for an advance ticket, including fees.

GRAPE was founded in early 2009 to provide a series of networking events for business professionals in the Greater Grand Rapids area. With more than 600 active members, GRAPE strives to promote and showcase the talents and skills of local people at its monthly events.

“The whole purpose of GRAPE really is to focus on exemplifying what excellence is, so we have topics that are of interest, but we really want to hold out local leaders, local people, who exemplify professional excellence,” said Potter. “All of our speakers are local. We have been around for five or six years, and every year that becomes a stronger focus for our group.”

In the upcoming months, GRAPE plans to cover topics including leadership on Feb. 19 with Bob VandePol from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Renwick Brutus, the founder and CEO of Achievement Resources LLC; and legal on March 19, featuring business law attorney Jeshua Lauka and Jennifer Puplava, who specializes in intellectual property and technology law issues.

“I think Grand Rapids is very fortunate that we have a lot of very highly skilled people and also very entrepreneurial-type people,” said Potter. “From what I can tell, we are fortunate in that we are retaining those people and they are not necessarily leaving the state as much as they were. That is very gratifying to see.”

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