Seth Godin mentions an interesting thing about flipping the funnel:
Disney learned a long time ago that flipping the funnel and letting tourists become your salesforce is a great idea. In an experience economy, where a bear workshop or furniture superstore is a form of tourism, photography is part of the deal.
What would it take to have your employees be your salesforce? What would that look like?
Personal time to spend on their own projects?
A corporate blog network for them to talk freely about it (or, you just pick up the tab for their typepad account)?
Digital cameras accessible by your staff to take photos and post them online (to borrow for kids baseball games)?
Free ipods for consistent achievers (note I did not say top achievers) with encouragement for them to listen to favorite podcasts?
A podcast-studio where top employees can be interviewed for a corporate podcast, and (more importantly) where employees can book time to record their own podcasts about anything they want.
These ideas were all focused around blogging (on my mind) but there are countless other ways to give to your employees so they will want to give back to you. A natural outcome of this is less negativity and resistance to change. Another outcome is a constant flow of referrals for recruiting (but you need a way to manage that!). Another outcome is higher retention and more company commitment.
Of course, this whole thing will fail if it's nothing more than mamby-pamby external lip-service. Nobody likes to be "bought", but everybody likes to belong to something special.
The days of "The Company Man" are long gone. Companies waiting around for "the right people" to "stick" are going to be waiting a very, very long time.
The next corporate champions will recognize that there are many professional moonwalkers out there who have been conquering various corporate planets for years. When they pitch their flag in your soil and promote you to all their network of people, they will stand up and take notice.
You will find yourself at no shortage of talent.
You will be attractive in the marketplace.