Almost every organization is facing unprecedented difficulty in recruiting and hiring employees today. Whether the hesitancy to return to work is due to elevated unemployment benefits, lack of vaccination adoption, inconsistent childcare, or family health concerns, the labor problem remains. Quite simply the standard job offering isn’t sufficient to move the needle anymore. Here’s how to change the outcome and do good in the process.
In an effort to find workers, many entry-level jobs have prominently advertised wages starting at $15/hour. Others have created giant signs touting signing bonuses of $250. Some have proclaimed retirement matching. But none of these are compelling anymore.
What is compelling is creating an opportunity for people to find the skills they need to literally change their lives for the better. People will sign up for an established program of mentorship that will help them achieve their potential and realize their dreams. Jobs that enable people to thrive will always find willing applicants, and it’s possible to implement in any organization.
The clothing retailer Old Navy has made a commitment to hire 20,000 underprivileged youth by 2025, representing a full 5% of all new hires. Their program, called This Way ONward, has been in existence since 2007 and is active in 576 cities across the US. Through the program, Old Navy works with community partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide youth with job mentoring opportunities. Managers interview youth and are directed to “hire for potential, not credential.” What’s more, youth receive post-hire support through coaching from managers, a job coach, and experienced peers.
The results? 10-year alumni of the program have found stable employment 72% of the time compared with 55% of their peers. 68% report a significant increase in self-confidence, enabling success in life. And Old Navy hired more than 2,500 youth last year for jobs that may have otherwise been unfilled. Clearly, doing good for the community is good business.
But can small teams adopt the same approach without huge budgets and years of experience? Absolutely. The first step is to make a commitment to coaching others. Investing an hour per week of time with each person is a prerequisite to successfully mentoring staff. When time and space is given towards coaching conversations without daily work pressures, a real human connection can be established, and people can start to thrive.
What do coaching conversations sound like? I prefer to start with hopes and dreams. What’s your dream job? What do you want your life to look like? What do you want to provide for your family? What do these look like in six months and one year and five years and ten years? People usually don’t have all the answers upfront and they often change over months and years, but these are the motivations we’ll use to fuel growth.
Next, I try to collaboratively build individualized action steps which consider the person’s unique talents, benefit on-the-job outcomes, and lead toward realization of their goals. For this step I use specialized assessments to provide self-awareness and idea generation. As a result, the coaching is always relevant, well-received, and applicable.
Finally, we shift to driving accountability by setting short-term commitments and ensuring that success is realized. When obstacles arise, I guide mentees through self-reflection to overcome them in the future. This is where skill training tends to enter, either directly or through third-party resources. When priorities change, we rework the process.
It can be an awkward process to start, but as one of my direct reports recently told me, “Our coaching conversations are by far my favorite part of the job.” Every week I’m helping her develop skills and experience. And doing good to help someone else has become my favorite part of the job.
But, as I said, doing good is good business. Those who I’ve been blessed to coach thrive in life and on the job. Their performance is higher, they contribute more positive energy, and work gets done with less stress. I’ve successfully recruited from partners including colleges, halfway houses, faith-based recovery programs, and job-training organizations. The people who participate are some of the most appreciative employees because they have a chance to significantly improve their lives.
If you’re seeking your next employee, maybe it’s time to rethink the approach. Save the money from the job boards and invest the time to find community organizations like vocational schools, foster care programs, churches, homeless shelters, or after-school youth programs. If you need help training them, we’d love to partner with you with our industry-specific courses on www.GrowTheBench.com. Commit to doing good for people who want jobs but lack skills and filling positions will no longer be such a challenge. It’s just good business.READ THE ISSUE