By Eric Jay Toll

Recruiting and retaining staff can be a lot like getting a cup of coffee.

“If you want a cup of coffee, it’s more efficient getting the coffee, creamer and sugar in one stop, as opposed to ordering coffee at Fair Trade, picking up creamer down the street at Press Coffee, and grabbing sugar from Starbucks the next block over,” said Rob Stenson, supervisor of the Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Center. “We’re the coffee, cream and sugar in one stop.”

Stenson heads up a little known “secret” resource at the city which helps companies of all sizes with recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training and retaining staff – and the city reimburses most program costs for using city partners.

“We can serve companies throughout Maricopa County,” Stenson said. “We fill in the gaps for company human resource recruiters and assist with organizational outreach. It’s a concierge service. One point of contact connects all needed resources. Our job, tailoring the services to meet specific company needs. What we do is not a one-size-fits-all program.”

Upskilling is a big deal with many companies, he said. Rather than poaching staff from competitors, Phoenix’s BWDC works with employers to enhance skills and increase production within the existing team. The Center works with industry-requested customized training to develop future hires.

“Achieving a company strategic plan requires a well-trained, motivated team,” said Stenson. “It’s easier motivating your current team with new skills and fresh looks at their jobs than it is to onboard and train new employees. Our incumbent worker training program lets companies retain high-value individuals by putting excitement and energy into their positions.”

Motivating and retaining workers is going to be an essential strategy for companies this year. Surveys of company-identified high-performers indicated that more than 50 percent of workers in that category plan to seek other employment when the pandemic ends. With the pandemic unemployment assistance ending later this year, more people will be looking to return to the workforce.

“We can help companies beat the rush,” Stenson said. “We let your HR team focus on what they need to do, and we make the contacts with other specialists and organizations needed to achieve your company strategy.”

Phoenix’s BWDC has extensive experience with virtual hiring events. Stenson believes that this is going to be the trend for the future. The city helps with promotion and outreach, gets messages into its network of approximately 100 nonprofit workforce development organizations and promotes the project on social and traditional media.

“We understand you know your organizational needs and workforce gaps better than anyone.” Stenson said. “We work in collaboration with companies and employers to connect with education partners to fullfill workforce development needs.”

Phoenix Community and Economic Development helps create investment, high-value jobs, as well as helping to connect a skilled workforce to fill those roles. More information is available at in the “Employers” section.

Posted by Annelise Patterson