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Put the Data to Work

A Hire Local strategy calls for tracking data from two angles: your institution’s human capital data, and data about the applicant pool. Each of these aspects can be tracked whether your organizing goals are built around supporting diversity, place, or both. 


This perspective on the data can show where there are hiring and management practices going right and wrong. Look at your institution’s turnover data, and locate in which departments or functions the highest-turnover positions occur. Are there certain positions that turn over at a rate well above the institution’s average? Looking at the termination details, and determining whether employees are leaving or are being fired, can help you develop a formal recruitment and training program that can effectively match local job seekers to more lasting employment in these positions.

It is additionally important to understand that for high-turnover positions where there is a higher voluntary than involuntary termination rate – in other words, employees are quitting rather than being fired - it could point to a problem with the practices of front-line managers. Here is where you need to consider management training, which can happen simultaneously with a local employee recruitment and training program for best results. Failing to address pre-existing weaknesses in departmental management practices will mean that a high turnover rate will continue unabated, and will derail some of the successes of a local-hire strategy. A strong local recruitment project should improve employee retention, not leave high turnover patterns in place.

This, therefore, is an opportunity for collecting qualitative data about management practices and employee retention. Gather relevant managers in focus groups for a deep dive into the reasons for high turnover, including information that might not be revealed by the numbers. For example: are employees being fired because they have poor technical skills, or are they leaving the job because they lack the conflict-management skills that the workplace calls for? Note that when processing termination paperwork, it can be easier for managers to simply cite technical-skill deficiencies in departing workers when the deeper reasons for turnover are more strongly related to workplace culture. A focus group, perhaps facilitated with help from your community workforce access partner, can help uncover some of these dynamics. 


Gather information on job-postings to identify positions that are being posted most frequently. These can flag areas of work or divisions that are growing quickly at your organization and which therefore represent opportunities for locally-focused and employer-customized recruitment, training, and placement programs. It is helpful to collaborate with colleagues in the institution who would have the best awareness of job openings being posted, and how frequently. Staying connected to decision makers leading divisions that do a lot of hiring will help you become aware of these opportunities.

In our training programs we take advantage of federal and state program funding available through our city’s workforce-access agency. This funding provides us with six months of wage reimbursement for recruits in a customized training program, and the salary savings we experience can help us sell the program to colleagues.  


What are the jobs in the institution that local residents are applying for, and what these applicants qualified for?  This is information you can use to create a locally-focused recruitment and training pipeline that better prepares local job seekers for success in the positions they are applying to.  What are the jobs that get very few applicants - from anywhere?  This is information you can use to design a training program to recruit and prepare local residents for these jobs, therefore opening new doors to employment while creating a benefit for a department that may be struggling to fill positions.

Additionally, for jobs in the institution that require a credential or professional certificate, look at the local schools offering this training, and look for gaps between the training they provide and what the region’s entry-level jobs tend to require. For example, the medical assistant jobs with the major hospitals and medical systems in our region require applicants to arrive with a year of experience, while the for-profit schools doing medical assistant training only provide 12 weeks of externship experience. This is a substantial gap that gets in the way of employment for graduates of these programs. As we learned that there were many un- and under-employed medical assistant certificate holders in our geography, we were able do design a training and placement program with bridging that experience gap in mind. 


A manager training program that is paired with a cohort-based local hire program will generate stronger results.Consider sessions that offer practical training in these areas: 

  • How to give effective and continuous feedback to direct reports
  • How to communicate to workers about what the workplace and management needs
  • Cultural competence – managing effectively across lines of class, race, and ethnicity 

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