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Job developers need to address employer needs (USA)

April 20, 2012

A recent US study comparing the commonalities and differences between job development strategies used in vocational rehabilitation programs and employers’ needs showed that employers want agencies to understand their business needs, not sell disability.

Surveys were conducted with two distinct groups: job developers with an average of eight years of experience and a national sample of over 2.5 million businesses across 12 industries. The results were broken down into three similar job search phases: pre-employment (recruitment), job placement (hiring), and post-placement (or advancement on the job). While both employers and job developers felt that building a trusting relationship that was maintained throughout – and after – an employment experience was essential to successful employer engagement, there was a difference in what employers wanted and what job developers are doing.

Job developers felt that successful job strategy involved selling their clients’ abilities, assuring employers that the employee would have support on the job; the focus was on the needs of the job seeker, not the employer. Employers needed job developers to show how working with the agency can save time and money, and that the worker could improve the company’s bottom line.

Accommodations were important to both groups, but employers wanted accommodation discussions to be about how the accommodation could enhance productivity or improve performance. Tax incentives, while appreciated, were not the most important consideration for employers. The study also found that focusing on improving the employer’s business would negate the need to sell disability. The disparities between groups confirm study results of a similar nature from 15 years ago, showing that job developers still have much to learn.

See, “Strategies Used by Employment Service Providers in the Job Development Process: Are they consistent with what employers want?” Available at www.dol.gov.

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