Workforce service organizations provide value to businesses by referring qualified job applicants, providing training and coaching to workers, and consulting about workplace culture and practices that affect worker stability and mobility. But over the Workforce Strategies Initiative’s more than two decades of experience working with workforce development professionals, many have told us that they struggle to build relationships with business representatives. Engagement that focuses mainly on job openings and referring applicants can feel transactional, and opportunities to help both businesses and workers go unexplored.
In response, as part of Reimagine Retail, an initiative of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program funded by the Walmart Foundation, we’ve developed a Question Bank to help workforce development professionals craft learning-focused conversations with retail business representatives, such as store managers and human resources professionals. The Bank includes questions to help you understand a business and its workforce, employee engagement, development and advancement in a firm, and compensation and scheduling practices.
Relationships take time and more than one conversation to build. But starting from a place of inquiry – asking employers about their workforce in the context of business goals, operations and culture – can help you to establish a knowledge base about practices in the sector, identify the retailers you want to build relationships with, and help you build standing in discussions about strategies for promoting worker retention and advancement. We hope this Question Bank will give you a good place to start.
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