I belong to a group of job developers who meet monthly to network and to have various employers tell us what would solve all their HR problems. Somewhere in the last two months, I agreed to give a talk at the meeting to a larger bunch of employers. Apparently they want to me to tell them about the secret life of job developers: what we do, what we eat for breakfast, and why can’t we get real jobs for ourselves.
I thought that it I were an employer, I wouldn’t want to hear any of this. It would be dreadfully boring and would confirm their suspicion that we are only in business for networking opportunities. If I could read minds, I could hear the employers thinking, “What have I done to deserve a time wasting meeting like this? He’s not solving any of my problems and he’s not telling me why I should hire his clients.
Thanks employer. I’m glad you’ve given me the opportunity to consider the business case for hiring a job developer’s clients.
Generally a client has a job developer for a number of reasons:
- They may be unemployed
- They may have a physical, mental health or developmental disability
- They may be older workers
- They may have been in prison
- They may be immigrants
- They may be youths
- They may be people in an industry targeted to receive help because there is little work in that industry
- They may have been unemployed for years and now find they are in a position of not having a clue how to get back in
Each job developer has representatives of most of these clients on their caseloads at any time. It is incumbent on the JD to present their clients in the best light possible, and the best way to do this is to describe the business case for hiring them.
- They will prove to be loyal.
Our clients know what it is like to be unemployed, and on becoming employed, they will do anything to stay on the job. They will work hard, be punctual, and be well behaved.
- They might be flexible.
Employee flexibility usually means two things. They are able to work part time or full time, or they are able to work night shifts.. Some clients who have mental health disabilities may not be able to offer work at night as it may have an negative effect on their medication. They may however, be getting financial support from the government, and able to earn a living wage by working part time and not having their disability cheques docked.
- They may be eligible for a wage subsidy or training allowance.
Wage subsidies help employers cover the high costs of training any employee. It is money paid to the employer on the promise that the position will result in long=term employment.
- They may already be trained.
Many job developers work at agencies that provide funding to train people who are unemployed or underemployed. Training is a strategy to get people working in areas where they have interest and skills.
- They can help with your company brand.
People actually feel good about dealing with your company if there is someone with a disability cleaning your lot or pushing buggies around your grocery store. When people feel good, they spend more money
- They can help enhance your company culture
I once had a client who trained to be a legal secretary, but she could only type 35 WPM, but she did this by putting the keyboard on the floor and typing with her toes because she didn’t have any arms. When I finally placed her in a law office, my occupational therapist found something that would make her life in the office better – an automatic hole puncher she could operate with her toe. When I came to deliver the machine, the whole company was in the lunch room having a chicken wing party, and there was my client in the middle of it all with her toes in the bowl of wings.
- Job developers can help you access new employees.
Suppose your company wants to hire a fabricator and you come to a job developer because you wish to capitalize on all of these benefits. Suppose again that that that job developer is me. I don’t think I have had a fabricator on my caseload for years, however, I can take your posting and distribute it amongst the forty or so job developers. There is a strong likelihood that we, as a team can help you with that placement.
- We can help with job retention.
Job developers are not going to place a client and run away. We have an obligation to help our clients keep their jobs after placement. We follow up with the client, and we follow up with the employer. One strategy is to meet with the employer and the employee during the three month performance evaluation. Are they doing what they said they were going to do in the interview. Is there any friction to be smoothed out.
Is there anyone out there that can help me during my performance review?
- The bottom line.
There are over 300,000 people in our province that have declared they have disabilities. There are probably more immigrants and lots of older workers. They all have friends and families. They also communicate with each other, and if it is learned that your company has hired a person with a disability, that can open up a floodgate of new customers to access your goods and services.
The next time your company is in a recruiting position, consider using a job developer to help you access our clients.
Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Ain’t no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is a newly retired ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at email@example.com or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates