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Business Resource Networks – A New Solution to MFG's Talent Question

This article appeared in the October 2018 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

When we ask employers, “what keeps you up at night,” their number one concern is talent.

Employers, more specifically manufacturers, are concerned with finding talent, keeping them and ultimately growing them to stabilize their workforce.

While Michigan is enjoying decades-low unemployment rates, a byproduct of this positive trend is a reduced supply of work-ready job candidates. In fact, with the shrinking number of job candidates, businesses are extending hiring efforts to individuals who have been out of work for a period of time and/or are lacking in both work and life skills. This fact creates an unstable human capital and job churn for business due to both high absenteeism and turnover, along with lost institutional knowledge and company loyalty.

More than 40 percent of Michigan households, 1.53 million households, are living at or below an economically stable budget and are likely one emergency away from a downward financial spiral impacting their ability to work while creating new barriers to success. The average cost for turnover is projected at $3,500 per one employee and local businesses who could grow, cannot grow, due to lack of staffing.

Manufacturers recognize their weakened human capital position and need to strengthen company operation, financial performance, sustain employment, increase loyalty and development of a candidate pool.

This has forced southwest Michigan employers to develop a demand-driven model that focuses on sustainable solutions and engages employers in workforce services. This collaboration understands the challenges community members are experiencing and is acting to address the issue through a newly established Business Resource Network (BRN), “The LINK”.

The LINK provides businesses, primarily manufacturers, and employees with weekly onsite support services through a Success Coach and intense case management. This coach provides solution management, holistic assessment, involvement and validation of barrier removal success (food support, transportation solutions, housing, child care solutions, counseling referral and others as defined to assure sustained employment).

These solutions are coordinated in partnership with local organizations, maximizing partnerships and resources for a better community. The LINK is a business solution for manufacturers that sustains itself through a significant return on investment generated with turnover reduction and human capital growth.

The Business Resource Network as a business model requires measurable, sustainable, outcomes to build and maintain trust with member employers.

The LINK was launched in September 2016 and currently provides services to employees at 14 businesses in Southwest Michigan. In just over a year, the LINK’s Success Coaches have already assisted 478 employees with 703 barriers. Eighty-four percent of these employees have been retained, resulting in a return of investment of over 1,000 percent (calculated by membership dues) for our employers in the community.

If you’re having workforce challenges such as hiring, high turnover rates, lost revenue due to lack of staffing or have a desire to set yourself apart from other manufacturers as an employer of choice…this might be a solution.

And if you’re wondering how you can make this happen in your community… start connecting with your local workforce provider along with partner companies and community resources.


About the Author

Duane BergerDuane Berger is senior director of business and innovation for Kinexus. He may be reached at bergerd@kinexus.org. Visit online: www.kinexus.org.

This article appeared in the October 2018 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

When we ask employers, “what keeps you up at night,” their number one concern is talent.

Employers, more specifically manufacturers, are concerned with finding talent, keeping them and ultimately growing them to stabilize their workforce.

While Michigan is enjoying decades-low unemployment rates, a byproduct of this positive trend is a reduced supply of work-ready job candidates. In fact, with the shrinking number of job candidates, businesses are extending hiring efforts to individuals who have been out of work for a period of time and/or are lacking in both work and life skills. This fact creates an unstable human capital and job churn for business due to both high absenteeism and turnover, along with lost institutional knowledge and company loyalty.

More than 40 percent of Michigan households, 1.53 million households, are living at or below an economically stable budget and are likely one emergency away from a downward financial spiral impacting their ability to work while creating new barriers to success. The average cost for turnover is projected at $3,500 per one employee and local businesses who could grow, cannot grow, due to lack of staffing.

Manufacturers recognize their weakened human capital position and need to strengthen company operation, financial performance, sustain employment, increase loyalty and development of a candidate pool.

This has forced southwest Michigan employers to develop a demand-driven model that focuses on sustainable solutions and engages employers in workforce services. This collaboration understands the challenges community members are experiencing and is acting to address the issue through a newly established Business Resource Network (BRN), “The LINK”.

The LINK provides businesses, primarily manufacturers, and employees with weekly onsite support services through a Success Coach and intense case management. This coach provides solution management, holistic assessment, involvement and validation of barrier removal success (food support, transportation solutions, housing, child care solutions, counseling referral and others as defined to assure sustained employment).

These solutions are coordinated in partnership with local organizations, maximizing partnerships and resources for a better community. The LINK is a business solution for manufacturers that sustains itself through a significant return on investment generated with turnover reduction and human capital growth.

The Business Resource Network as a business model requires measurable, sustainable, outcomes to build and maintain trust with member employers.

The LINK was launched in September 2016 and currently provides services to employees at 14 businesses in Southwest Michigan. In just over a year, the LINK’s Success Coaches have already assisted 478 employees with 703 barriers. Eighty-four percent of these employees have been retained, resulting in a return of investment of over 1,000 percent (calculated by membership dues) for our employers in the community.

If you’re having workforce challenges such as hiring, high turnover rates, lost revenue due to lack of staffing or have a desire to set yourself apart from other manufacturers as an employer of choice…this might be a solution.

And if you’re wondering how you can make this happen in your community… start connecting with your local workforce provider along with partner companies and community resources.


About the Author

Duane BergerDuane Berger is senior director of business and innovation for Kinexus. He may be reached at bergerd@kinexus.org. Visit online: www.kinexus.org.
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