With unemployment still at the lowest levels and demand high, employers have to think outside the box to fill open jobs at their organizations. For many, competing for talent is simply opening up the wallet, and if pay is involved, salary compression generally follows. If health benefits are expanded, the question of share could become a sticking point, as various reports have found employees having to decide whether to pay for medical treatment or something else. It will be even more acute on May 11th when the pandemic is officially over, and copays are back with all COVID coverage. And if other benefits are involved, what increased costs are there to the employer? There is only so much of the cost that can be passed on to customers.
If an employer can build an established talent pipeline, the costs of recruitment will be reduced and less likely be dependent on salaries and benefits mark-ups. It could also create greater bonds between the employer and the community by focusing on those who otherwise might not be eligible for the jobs available. Although this approach has been long standing with larger employers, smaller employers can do the same and be just as successful.
For example, as reported by NPR Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana and Eli Lilly & Company have partnered to create a new scholarship program to increase awareness of and access to careers in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The “Lilly Scholars @ Ivy Tech” program will build on Ivy Tech’s existing biopharmaceutical manufacturing certification program. Eli Lilly will fund the $15 million project for the next five years. The goal is to make careers in the industry more accessible through partnerships with Marion County high schools and the design of biopharmaceutical manufacturing “boot camps.” Those who graduate will be employment-eligible for jobs for the company as well as other pharmaceutical employers.
Apprenticeships should definitely be in the talent acquisition playbook. Apprentices are not just workers on the line moving to journeyman level positions. For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s apprenticeships are structured so trainees jump in head first and get real work experience in areas of Management and Sales Management. “This internship taught me a lot about various sales techniques and great customer service. The people I worked with were all very friendly and enjoyed coming into work everyday. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone interested in a sales or management career.” - Management Trainee Intern
CVS Health in 2005 registered an apprenticeship with U.S. Department of Labor for pharmacy technicians for the first type of its kind. Participants have a structured training program, and it has proven successful as pharmacy technicians are always in short supply. The program is still going strong today.
Returning citizens are another avenue of worker pipeline. The Prison Fellowship reported that individuals with a criminal record are less likely to quit, avoiding costs related to turnover. Further, the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that “preventing returning citizens from fully reentering the workforce costs the U.S. economy between $78 billion and $87 billion in projected economic output.”
Michigan strongly supports these efforts. Last November, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced the state has been awarded a $7.6 million federal grant to launch a new initiative designed to reduce recidivism among justice involved citizens and increase their successful participation in employment and training opportunities. LEO’s Office of Employment and Training will implement the Michigan Citizen Reentry Initiative (MiCRI) which initially will expand in-reach services – including individual needs evaluations, soft skills training, workplace skills development, job search skills, and employment retention strategies – to hundreds of inmates at the Milan Federal Correctional institution who are nearing release from prison. If successful, this program could be further funded to assist employers to hire returned citizens.
Therefore, employers need to be creative and commit to creating opportunities for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get through the door. These include part-time schedules for working mothers, who generally bear the brunt of family burden; pushing out family friendly policies; training programs for those who otherwise would not have access to them, and something as simple as transportation for workers who do not have access to personal transportation. For those organizations committed to diversity or DEI, these programs walk the talk.
Source: NPR Indianapolis 4/19/23, The Hill 4/12/23, Glassdoor 11/5/2015