Finding Talent, Hidden Profits: It pays to develop low-wage employees

January 31, 2014 Published by

Do the core constructs from aha! Process’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty and Bridges Out of Poverty apply to business? Absolutely. Cascade Engineering started adopting the work of Framework nearly 15 years ago and others have followed. Utility companies, a frozen food distributor, banks, and hospitals have all employed our constructs to better relate to and develop their low-wage employees while removing common obstacles to their success. Many non-profits also led the way by developing partnerships with the business community such as Working Bridges in Vermont, St. Joseph Bridges out of Poverty and Cincinnati Works.

Given the clear need, we set out to develop a training solution specific for business which we’re calling: Finding Talent, Growing Profits.

There are certain employee patterns that businesses encounter when employing individuals coming from environments of daily instability. High turnover is an issue, showing up for work late or not showing up, language disconnects, and loss of productivity are at the top of the list.

When talking to businesses our focus is on increasing stability of the workforce. We use a different set of language with business. It’s not about poverty, middle class or wealth. Instead we address issues of employees coming from daily instability versus daily stability. We address how instability affects employee performance, net income and ROI, while also sapping existing training and management resources. Using this economic lens, we have built a strong financial case for investing in stabilizing the workforce. We show businesses how understanding the environment, resources, hidden rules and language of their low-wage employees can provide opportunities to improve retention, performance, and profits.

Workforce development is a key component in a strong work of community sustainability effort. This workshop can help you bring employers to your Bridges table to create the change you are looking with your clients and your community. Call us today at (800) 424-9484 to discuss how your local business partners will benefit from the strategies in Finding Talent, Hidden Profits. If you missed our recent Bridges for Business Teleconference, listen to the replay.

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This post was written by Ruth Weirich

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