Tis the Season: Three Easy Ideas to Show Employer Appreciation

photo 6Job developers dream about employer appreciation events or award ceremonies.  Those approaches take significant resources and lots of advance planning.

Take advantage of holiday traditions and consider one of these three easy ways to thank employers and deepen their connection to your mission.  At the same time, you can begin gaining experience to help you build up to a larger event in the future.

  1.  Send a holiday email.  Keep it simple and just say thanks and happy holidays.  If you want to get more creative, imbed a picture of your team, agency holiday decorations or clients celebrating the season.  (I still remember an email I received a couple of years ago with a photo of a group of clients and teachers at an ESL class wearing Santa hats and their own traditional clothing.)
  2. Mail cards signed by everyone on your team.  If your agency sends cards, you could link with that process.  You can buy your own holiday cards or use plain paper and sign with holiday colored markers.  It’s likely that your card will be displayed for others to see, so include a visible logo.
  3. For a few of your best employers, consider a personal delivery of holiday treats.  You can bake them yourselves or consider asking volunteers to contribute them.  This requires more resources, so you might want to consider it only for a handful of employers.  Everyone on your team could help with deliveries to make it even easier.

Tis the Season: The Employer Perspective on Seasonal Hiring

After our recent post about seasonal job development strategies , I saw a post from HireRight.com that outlines the challenges employers face around seasonal hiring.  It provides great selling points for us when talking to employers about how we can help them access a broad talent pool ready to move quickly as they have seasonal openings to fill.  If anyone has special success with seasonal hiring opportunities, please let Higher know!

 

Response to a Reader About Retention Rate Statistics

Matt Gruel PhotoA post on October 9 provided a list of questions to help you generate new employer ideas, including this one:

 “What are unemployment and retention rates in key industries in your area?”

Matt Gruel, Employment Coordinator with World Relief Tri Cities in Richland, WA (pictured at left) is the first reader to ask a question about a blog post.  Matt asked,

 “How do I go about finding out the unemployment and (especially) retention rates in key industries in my area?  I’m hesitant to ask one of my employers directly since I think it’s something they wouldn’t want outsiders to know.”

Here are answers from a number of sources:

Employer Advice

First, we checked with a few employers who have hired refugees and partnered with refugee employment programs.   Erica Wolff, Director of Human Resources, Training, Safety & Security at the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin hotel says,

 “I don’t think it is a problem at all to ask for turnover information if it is used as a measuring tool for placement services.” 

Other employers agree and add that this is very common information to track for management purposes.  If an employer has dedicated HR staff, they are most likely to have the information.  It might be broken out by a few key positions or by hourly/salaried staff.   Even if specific figures are unavailable, asking an employer directly might yield other valuable information or other sources for the data.

Higher’s Webinar Archive

In May 2013, we hosted a webinar about how to use statistics and data in job development.  It includes specific instructions for using Occupational Employment Statistics to target growth industries.  You can review slides on our website.

Where Else to Look for Information:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey.  http://www.bls.gov/jlt/
  • Trade associations or other industry groups.  (e.g. Hotel HR Associations, Unions, Chambers of Commerce)
  • County, City and State Government.  (e.g. Workforce Development Offices, Research and Planning Departments, Business Support Units trying to attract industry and investment)
  • Business Journals and Newspapers.

It’s great to get proof that Higher’s blog is being read.  We want to avoid spouting advice that isn’t useful, just for the sake of making a blog post.  So, thanks, Matt, for reading and for keeping us honest.

 

Top Five Employers Hiring Now in 25 Major Metro Areas

Scraper genericForbes lists the top five employers hiring now in 25 major metropolitan areas.  Reference this information when reaching out to those employers.  Hiring managers will likely feel somewhat overwhelmed with large volume hires.  Offer to make it easier with prescreened, work-authorized candidates ready to interview at their convenience.  The cities are:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Boston, MA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cleveland/Akron, OH
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • New York, NY
  • Orlando, FL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Raleigh/Durham, NC
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • Seattle/Tacoma, WA
  • St Louis, MO
  • Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
  • Washington, DC

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Hiring by the Numbers: Positions, Industries and Major Employers

Holiday Shopping BagiStock_000015475220XSmallNow is the time to help clients get seasonal jobs.  Primarily part-time, seasonal jobs can help clients build US work history, confidence and relevant experience.  They can also transition into full time jobs.

Despite slower holiday sales forecasts, retailers are still planning on hiring temporary seasonal staff to help man their stores during the shopping season.

CareerBuilder’s annual survey finds 39% of retail hiring managers will bring on additional temporary workers this year, with 51% planning to pay these workers at least $10 an hour, or more. The hiring number is up from 36% in 2012 and 29% in 2011.

Even better news is that many of these positions could become full time. Nearly half (49%) of U.S. employers who are hiring seasonal workers plan to transition some into full-time, permanent staff. This is up ten percentage points over last year and indicative of a growing trend where employers are test-driving candidates before committing to a long-term hire,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, in a release.

The majority of job openings will stem from the retail sector, but employers in information technology (18%), leisure and hospitality (16%) and financial services (16%) also plan to hire seasonal staff.

Popular positions that companies will be hiring for include customer service (33%), shipping and delivery (18%), inventory management (17%), administrative and clerical (15%), non-retail sales (12%), marketing (9%) and accounting and finance work (6%).

These major retailers all report plans to hire between 17 ,ooo and 77,000 seasonal workers this year:  Walmart, Kohl’s, Toys R Us, Target, Gamestop, Amazon and J.C. Penney.

Read the entire article from which this data was excerpted.

 

Employer Outreach Brochures 101

Brochure PhotoNo matter how your agency is structured or how you handle job development, everyone needs an effective marketing brochure.  A leave-behind that summarized your services and reaches out to potential employers is a basic that can be intimidating to develop.  Here are ideas, steps and examples to make it not so scary.

What you put together doesn’t have to be produced by an expensive consultant.  (Huh, as if, right?)   In fact, some  non-profit Directors of Communication or Development caution that something too glossy can make it look like you don’t need the help or that you might be wasting resources.  Noone wants to leave that impression, which is rarely true in our field, anyway.

Who Should Develop Your Marketing Piece? 

If you’re lucky enough to have access to your development or communications team, they could be very helpful.  You might be able to tap into intern or volunteer talent.  There’s no reason why you can’t do it yourself.  You could pass a draft around the office for feedback.  If you have a good relationship with an employer, you could ask them to review a final draft, as well.

What Information Should You Include?

Higher has recently collected three good examples that are available for you to download on our website.   They come from different sources and were intended for use by one or more agencies.  All of them are effective examples with lots of good ideas you can use as models for your own brochure.  Thanks to Volag USCRI, Lutheran Services Carolinas and Caritas of Austin, TX for letting us share their great examples.

Don’t worry or deliberate too much. Just get started.   Identify the information you want to include.  Look for pictures and graphics you can use.  Work with the data you have available already.  It’s easier than you think.  Even if you already have a brochure, you could improve or update it with fresh photos, more recent data or a new success story.

Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:

  • Use business vs nonprofit language:  Be succinct.  Direct.  Brief.  Speak their language.
  • What’s in it for them?:  That’s the lead in – not the plight of refugees or the services we’re so passionate about.  Think Free, Pre-screened, work authorized, job retention, support, easy, interpretation.
  • Use numbers and statistics:  Provide concrete and quantifiable information you have or can pull together from existing donor reports or performance data.  Consider job retention rate.  Pie chart of industries where refugees area already working.  Number of employees placed or number of employers who hired them.
  • “Join the Club”:   No risk in jumping on the band wagon.  Give them a list of area employers who already hire.  Don’t leave out national names or the competition in an industry you want to target.  Include a tesimonial quote from a supportive employer, preferably someone influential and clearly in a leadership role.
  • Give it visual punch:  Graphics.  White space.  Pictures of refugees at work.  A success story from a refugee who has moved up, won an award or is also an employer.
  • Remember the 5 second rule:  Hiring managers/employers are busy.  They make a decision to consider your pitch in just five seconds.  If they can’t immediately see what you’re asking and why they should listen, they won’t.  Wordy, cumbersome brochures may just go into the circular file.
  • Don’t forget to provide contact information:  Be sure they can find you.  Staple a business card.  Place contact info prominently.  Consider creating a dedicated email address that won’t be affected by staff turnover.
  • Spread it around:  Leave it everywhere you go.  Put it on coffee shop bulletin boards.  Do an electronic version so you can attach it to emails.  Load it on your website.  Always have some with you.

Large Minnesota Employer Regularly Hires Refugees

Fairview Health Services is one of the largest employers in Minnesota and a strong supporter of refugee employment. With many refugees and political asylees employed at four of their hospitals in the greater Twin Cities area, the Minnesota Council of Churches has found an employer who truly provides newcomers a promising start in America.

According to Katie Thomas, match grant coordinator for Minnesota Council of Churches, “Fairview Health Services is committed to a diverse workforce and to giving refugees an opportunity to begin careers in the U.S.” Under the leadership of a senior human resources director of diversity, Fairview manages a diversity hiring program that has benefited refugees and other candidates looking to enter the healthcare field. Impressed with their investment in their employees, both Katie and her colleague Mike Zaslofsky work hard to nurture a lasting relationship with the company.

Fairview Health Service provides refugees with more than just an entry level job; they are also committed to offering their employees opportunities for advancement. Several refugees have been promoted while employed at the hospitals. One employee began as a Nutrition Services Aide and is now doing direct patient care as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant after completing a Fairview-sponsored training program. Another client who worked as a pharmacist in Sudan was hired as a pharmacy technician. The hospital hopes to assist him in the re-certification process. The salaries are good too. Newly hired refugees referred by Katie and Mike generally make between $10.41 – $15.00 per hour with benefits.

Supervisors at all four hospitals express enthusiasm about the caliber of employees they have found with newly arrived refugees. Materials Management Supervisor Tim Henry at Fairview Southdale Hospital comments, “[Refugees] are some of the most reliable employees I have. They show initiative, want to be here and any employer would benefit from hiring them because of the attributes they bring to the job. They have a top notch work ethic.”

Employment Representative Jean Shepherd at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, agrees. “I like working with the refugees that are referred from Minnesota Council of Churches because they are eager to be of service to our patients. They have a very positive attitude and they are eager to learn. Mike and Katie send [candidates]who have the skills, as well as the legal documents. Working together is what it’s all about!”

In addition, Steve Kroeker, Director of Nutrition Services at University of Minnesota Medical Center has said, “They’re hard working people who’ve adapted well in our department. They respect others and do great work.”

Diversity and the Value Add to Employers

Are your agencies promoting the strengths of diversity in the workplace? Are the employers you work with a set of values and principles that recognize diversity? Below are some value adds that refugees bring to the workplace and you can promote to employers.

Customer Focus – matching internal employee diversity to population diversity can provide performance benefits which enhance awareness of consumer needs.

Business Process – recruiting diverse talent will help inject new ideas and challenge the organizational mindsets and ways of doing things that can hinder change and organizational process.

Innovation – the flexibility, creativity, and ability to innovate are enhanced by the existence of dissimilar mindsets. Constructive conflict supports “out of the box” thinking.

Learning – employers have more choice from a greater skills base, improved employee satisfaction, and reduced internal disputes, greater workplace harmony, improved retention, and more effective and fairer promotion of talent. Knowledge is retained in the business and shared more effectively.

When working with a new employer, it is wise to consider the following:

Does the employer…. (Examine the company’s mission and value statements)

  • Have a set of values and principles that recognize diversity;
  • Demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies, and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally and value diversity;
  • Conduct self-assessment to ensure sensitivity to cultural characteristics;
  • Commit to manage the “dynamics of difference;”
  • Learn about and incorporate cultural knowledge into their practices, and
  • Adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve.

If the answer is yes, then the company will most likely be a good match for your clients.

 

Cheers,

Jonathan Lucus,

Director of Higher