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.

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.



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!


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.

Fast Food for Thought

FAST FOOD FOR THOUGHT BUTTONMost people say “no” five times before they say “yes” to a new idea or product. Your strategy when approaching employers must allow you to go back to them repeatedly after the first “no, thank you”.  Only 20-30 % of people say yes in the first five requests made of them to make a buying decision. It is after the fifth request that most people finally make a “yes” decision.

Allen Anderson, Employment Management Professionals Inc. of Ontario, Canada

Nothing long or complicated.  No commentary or analysis.  Just a quick quote, idea or statistic to spark creativity or file away for later reflection.  A new occasional feature from Higher.

Fast Food for Thought

FAST FOOD FOR THOUGHT BUTTONAmong college-educated adults in the country: 9.4 million or 16% are immigrants.  California, New York, Florida, and Texas accounted for half of the 7.2 million college-educated immigrants in the labor force.

Nothing long or complicated.  No commentary or analysis.  Just a quick quote, idea or statistic to spark creativity or file away for later reflection.  A new occasional feature from Higher.

Job Development Strategies Around Large Construction Projects

Caution stock photoThe Department of Labor just announced construction of a new Phillips 66 headquarters in Houston, TX.  The project will employ approximately 1,000 workers and 100 contractors.  Construction begins in early December.  Read the OSHA news release for complete details about that opportunity.  (I hope someone in Houston is reading.)

Large volume hiring events always present good opportunities.  Here are some strategies that have worked in the past for leveraging large construction projects into construction jobs for clients and long term employer relationships in the building trades.

  • Network Early and Watch for Turnover.  The earlier you can find out about projects like this and begin making contacts the better.  But, it’s neConstruction Snipver too late to try.  There will be initial hiring, but turnover or staff adjustments will likely create more openings early in the project.
  • Look for Several Potential Points of Initial Contact.   If you can’t find a good contact in the company itself, call around to a few staffing agencies and try to find out what they know.  It’s likely that staffing agencies will be involved in hiring for some part of the project.  Check in with local government and the workforce resource that supports job seekers.  They are likely to know something about plans and who to contact.
  • Subcontractors May be Easier to Approach:  Construction cleaning and basic labor services might be provided by smaller sub-contractors that could be easier initial targets for job development.
  • Government-mandated Regulatory Compliance Opens Opportunity:  If the project has any direct government involvement, there could be opportunities around diversity regulations or incentive packages that secured the location of the facility in your city.
  • How to Work a Construction Project Job Fair.  More so than in general job fairs, all of the employers will know each other and likely communicate frequently.  They can help you identify other  contacts at the fair and beyond.  Come prepared with knowledge about the industry, construction terminology and your own agency success stories.  Construction is still a male dominated industry and work culture, so consider which members of your team would fit best in that context.
  •  OSHA Certification is a Barrier and an Opportunity:  Safety concerns are often a barrier to clients with limited English proficiency.  Employers often fear that they will not be able to adequately train in OSHA standards or that danger signs or verbal warnings will go unheeded causing harm to employees.  Consider how you can prepare clients with some basic information.  OSHA certification training programs should be available for a reasonable fee.  There are also on-line options.  A staffing agency partner might be willing to provide access to training films, materials or even their in-house training.
  • Interview Preparation is Always Important:  You could develop a few hours of material to present to a group of candidates.  Include information about the project, vocabulary, general safety awareness and any specifics about job opportunities you’ll be working toward.  Even a quick informal meeting to go over basic concepts and vocabulary could give clients a competitive edge. 
  • Consider Customizing Resumes and Job Descriptions for Applications:  If you have time to work with individual clients during the application process, adjusting job descriptions to fit what you’ve learned about the job can help.  Be very cautious about exaggerating or falsifying information, although clients might be tempted to do that.
  • Time Pressure Means Little Room for Performance Coaching.  This type of project is time bound.  During the construction phase, that means that there will be little time to coach employees through performance issues.  You will need to identify and address any issues quickly.
  • Ongoing Contact Can Net More Jobs and Long Term Relationships.  Many of the contractors will move on to other contracts and they are definitely a tight knit industry.  They talk to each other so can provide references and opportunities for future projects.








Fast Food for Thought

FAST FOOD FOR THOUGHT BUTTON2,300 Cubans were intercepted by Mexican officials en-route to the US-Mexican border between January and August of this year.  That is more than double in the same time frame last year.  Fox News Latino 10/30/13

Nothing long or complicated.  No commentary or analysis.  Just a quick quote, idea or statistic to spark creativity or file away for later reflection.  A new occasional feature from Higher.

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