This holiday season, my family and I were able to come to Paducah to attend the Russian Ballet performance of "The Nutcracker" and two concerts of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.

We also drove to Murray State University with some friends to watch a college football game (and great marching band) and to attend the play "The Pirates of Penzance."

Since we live in Benton, we always attend Paducah's Dicken's festival and Christmas parade. This year, we are adding a visit to Mayfield to see the Purchase Players performance of "It's a Wonderful Life."

When you add the Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers, or the Market House Theater, Yeiser Art Center and Quilt Museum in Paducah, or the Playhouse in the Park in Murray, the list becomes even more robust and awesome. I hesitate trying to list my favorites for the sake of leaving out a very noteworthy name, such as the Kentucky Opry in Draffenville.

Why am I including this in a column dedicated to the people side of your organization? Because, many times, there are not qualified employees already here in the area and you need to find applicants who are willing to relocate to western Kentucky.

Numerous HR studies have shown that high on the list for relocation issues is the local quality of life, a somewhat subjective variable, but one that is very real.

Thirty years ago, my wife and I, along with our young daughter, moved here from North Carolina for the sake of my taking a new job in Marshall County. It was a big decision for us because I had a competing offer in North Carolina's state capitol that would have been an easy transition for us within the state.

But something just felt right about this area. On my interview trip, I flew into Barkley Regional Airport and was impressed with the quaintness the minute I landed. When I got the job two weeks later, I realized the wonderful choices I had for where to live - the vibrancy of Paducah, the sereneness of Benton, the college-dominated friendly Murray, the lake, or some acreage with horses.

We chose Benton and still live today in the 100-plus year old house that we have remodeled and brought back to much of its original design.

And, now I'm on the board of that same quaint Paducah airport and my young daughter has grown up and loves her job and co-workers in Paducah City Hall. Professionally, I am privileged to assist local employers with attracting and retaining a quality workforce.

My message is that a quality workforce demands a quality lifestyle away from the job. Fortunately, we have it. Sorry, Louisville and Lexington, I'll take the Purchase area any day.

As you plan for your 2020 business year, be proud of our greater locale. Be aware of its uniqueness when asking an applicant to move to this area. And be mindful of the support you can give, both personally and financially, to those who help create this wonderful quality of life. But, most of all, take the time to enjoy it yourself. Look around and smell the roses. We are truly blessed, my friends.

Have a great and safe holiday season.

Randy Fox, SHRM, SCP, SPHR, is founder and senior partner of Capstone HR Services, Inc.

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