“Since its founding in 1951, Shaker Recruitment Marketing has evolved to meet new challenges, including the current problem of attracting employees that cuts across many industries.

However, some founding principles remain and likely will never change. They’ve been central to the success of this third-generation full-service recruitment advertising agency: “Make a friend, make a deal” and “We treat our employees and clients like family.”

My story on Shaker Recruitment Marketing’s 70th anniversary led off the Daily Herald’s Business section.

Those words opened my Daily Herald story yesterday on Shaker’s 70th anniversary celebration last week. The milestone culminated with the airing of its 37-minute documentary film, “70 Years & Counting.”

Wrapping up the story, I quoted Shaker President Joe Shaker Jr. as he discussed the current shorthanded staffing struggles that cut across numerous industries—and how those issues underscore the continued relevance of Shaker’s work.

“There’s never been a bigger emphasis around recruitment right now,” he said. “It’s companies’ number-one challenge, no matter how small or big you are. There’s nobody that doesn’t have a talent attraction problem.”

One Moral from the Shaker Success Story

One moral that I take from the story of Shaker’s continued vibrancy: the more some things (like technology) usher in significant changes, the more other things (such as the need to attract—and keep—talent) remain the same. So it’s essential to know when to let go, while also recognizing which core principles to maintain. And those principles must be more than a pithy phrase or feel-good sentiment–they must align with behavior.

Shaker has obviously struck the right balance, which helps explain why the firm is now in its third generation of family leadership. Its work includes leading creative recruitment campaigns for some of the world’s most well-recognized companies, such as McDonald’s, Ulta Beauty, Dollar General, Siemens, Emory Healthcare, BJC HealthCare and U.S. Cellular Corp.

In the course of researching and writing this story, I learned much about the history of recruitment marketing—and how it applies to my own business, particularly the importance of adapting how I tell my firm’s story as well as that of Inside Edge PR + Media clients. On top of that, receiving this Daily Herald assignment had a special icing on the cake for me: for the past 27 years—that’s nearly 40 percent of Shaker’s history—I have lived less than a half-mile from the company’s headquarters in Downtown Oak Park, Illinois.

One last note: shot over the past 12 months and edited from 37 hours of original footage, the “70 Years & Counting” documentary can be seen at https://shaker.com/celebrate70/. To anyone interested in history, the evolution of business and communications, and in a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of effective story-telling, I recommend it enthusiastically.

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