Deepen Employer Relationships Around Daylight Savings Time

Alarm ClockProviding translated signage about Daylight Savings Time is a great excuse to communicate with lots of employers and provides a valuable customer service they’ll remember and appreciate.

Read more for the steps to take and access free, translated signage when you sign up for Higher’s blog feed at

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, 03/09.  You have 3 weeks to implement a strategy that will deepen employer relationships and help clients.  Go for it!

WHY:  Maintaining contact with employers gets harder to do when the new hires are settled and there are no immediate job openings to fill. You need to keep limited resources focused on finding jobs for clients who need them now.  You want to keep in touch so employers don’t forget to contact you when they need to hire again.


  1. Compile a list of employers to include. Consider adding a few prospects, as well as all of the companies who already employ clients.
  2. Draft correspondence.  Say thank you.  Keep it brief.  Think about adding no more than 2 additional points.  Maybe provide a save the date for World Refugee Day celebrations.
  3. Sign up for Higher’s Blog and we’ll send you the signage. We’ve translated it into Arabic, Burmese, French, Spanish and Swahili.  We’ll also include the English language template in case you want to add other languages.  The signs are provided as word documents so you can add your agency logo if you want.
  4. Provide the signs early in the week of March 3:  If you send an email, don’t forget your email signature with contact information.  If you deliver hard copies, consider tapping into volunteer resources or visiting yourself, especially for the most important employers on your list.




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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.
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Using Social Media to Find Job Openings

Social Media iStock_000016719688XSmall This article from a Dallas, TX staffing agency outlines specific ways to use social media in a job search.  It includes a list of job groups for many major cities and other concrete methods to cut through the never ending newsfeed or chattering twitterverse to find timely job openings that may not be widely publicized on job boards or Craigslist.

Developing relationships with employers takes time.  Likely, you concentrate those efforts on industries and employers that can offer volume placements that fit common client skill sets.  You need to tap into every resources you can to match the concrete job leads you generate with the daily volume and diversity of a typical employment program workload.



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Tis the Season: Holiday Job Development Strategies You Can Use Now

photo 18 close up ballThe holidays always bring different work flows for us, changing circumstances for employers and special challenges for clients. Throughout the holiday season, watch Higher’s blog for ideas and analysis you can use now to navigate the holiday season and get a jump on the new year.

Time is running out to help clients get retail customer service jobs.  Statistics show that many retail employers make as much as 40% of annual earnings during November and December.  Many seasonal jobs are likely already filled, but you might still find a few openings.  As the holiday season progresses, most employers do not make time to hire replacements for any seasonal washouts.  After the holidays, the most successful seasonal employees often transition into full time jobs.  That translates into fewer job opening and increased competition from internal hires until spring.

Special holiday events offer opportunities with a fast turnaround.  Convention centers, hotels and large restaurants may have additional seasonal openings for dishwashers and servers to support holiday parties and large New Years Eve events.  People book at the last minute, so employers can’t always anticipate their hiring needs until the last minute.  Be sure employers know how you can help them respond to last minute hiring needs.  Consider pre-identifying clients who might be qualified for those jobs so you can move quickly.

Hotel housekeepers need help to navigate reduced holiday work hours.  Business is not so good for hotel housekeeping.  The majority of holiday travelers prefer to say with family and friends rather than in a hotel.  This can mean very few work hours for clients who depend on that income.  Some hotels plan special projects or schedule deep cleaning to supplement work schedules.   Talk to your employer contacts to find out how it will look for them this year and plan accordingly.

Alert case managers and ask for their ideas and assistance.  Be sure clients understand how this will affect them and are thinking about strategies to accommodate temporary loss of income.  Consider developing a contact list of emergency rental assistance, food pantries or other holiday resources for families.  Provide it to employers.  They can make sure all of their refugee employees receive it.  They will likely see it as yet another valuable service you provide since they can share that information with all of their employees.

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8 Questions to Help You Generate New Employer Ideas

GLighbulb Stock Photoetting a new population?  Wanting to diversify the employers on your Go To List?  Trying to identify job upgrades for a skilled client?  Hoping to improve your employment outcomes for the new Fiscal Year?

Sometimes you  just run out of ideas, feel frustrated by a lack of success with current prospects and need a fresh approach.  The answers to these questions will generate new ideas targeted to your community and client populations:

  • What industries are growing or declining in your area?
  • Are there new businesses opening or new industries gaining a foothold?
  • What are unemployment and retention rates in key industries in your area?
  • What are the top 10 employers in your area?  Do you work with any of them?
  • Who are your Competitors?  What employers do they work with?
  • What industrial parks, commercial areas or major employer campuses are accessible by public transportation?
  • What might be stirring turnover in an industry right now?  A new business opening?  An upcoming event or festival?  A huge outmigration of part time labor during school breaks?
  • Are there employers in your historic reports or records that you’ve forgotten about?

For even more fresh perspective, consider asking 5 people who don’t work with refugees to tell you where they think you should look for new employers.  Even if you think you’ve done it already and thought of everything, hearing from someone who is thinking outside of your box might generate new ideas.

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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.
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5 Places to Find Job Leads

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes you just run out of ideas or feel like all of your new employer prospects are dead.  Here are five accessible places to find fresh leads

1.  Mine monthly reports for employers who have already hired a refugee.  These will be soft targets likely already somewhat familiar with our client population and perhaps curious about their country of origin and journey to the US.  If the employee still works there and is doing well, it could be an even stronger lead.  You can provide more information, outline your employment services and explore ways to leverage that first success into additional opportunities.

2.  Ask existing Employers to recommend and refer. Think about similar businesses or others in their supply chain.  For example, a hotel will have contacts with other properties or with a linen service.  A construction firm might work with a single stream recycler or industrial cleaning contractor.  A grocery store might refer you to wholesalers or small local food production operations.

3.  Don’t forget about the power of your own dollars and contacts.  My friends make fun of me when I ask about jobs on my own time – even doing personal errands or on evenings out with friends.  But it works.  My dry cleaner hired a client in their processing facility and I found a great lead from the emergency repair man called when a broken water main flooded a friend’s backyard cookout.

4.  Think about Craigslist and other job boards for more than current openings.  When you see openings that might be a good fit for your clients, respond with a quick marketing pitch and attach an electronic copy of your employment services brochure.  It’s quick and easy and you never know who might respond.  If you can identify the company by name, don’t be afraid to call them up to offer a qualified, pre-screened candidate if you have one – or request a meeting to introduce yourself.  They’ll be more motivated to hear how you can help when they’re swamped with hundreds of unqualified job board applicants.

5.  Follow business news and industry publications for leads and trends.  Many cities have a Business Journal that publishes an annual Book of Lists including top employers in a number of different categories.  Your agency’s development office probably has a copy they’ll share.  News about promotions and industry leaders can give you the name of a hiring authority or let you know that someone who already knows about you has moved to a different company that should also hire your clients.  Announcements of new construction can tip you off to a major new employer in advance so you have time to develop the right connections and help them get started.


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Make your Business Card Work Harder for You

Ever throw away a business card you obviously saved for some reason but couldn’t remember why?Business Card Blurb

As a Job Developer, I left a card everywhere I went, but was afraid  people wouldn’t remember us when they had a job opening.  Here’s an easy, quick and cost-effective solution.

Add a brief pitch to the back of your business cards.  You can do it the next time you reprint – or add on now with a sticker you can make yourself.  You won’t have to spend any extra money to get extra results from your job development efforts.

A few prospects I met with actually got in touch later on because of the blurb on my card, which you can see in the picture.  You’re welcome to copy it.  Or, write your own.  Use business language.  Focus on what’s in it for them.  Leave plenty of white space.



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