While our agency is connected well to community supports and other agencies to address many barriers to employment, it can be difficult to have customers move past some of the material conditions that have led to those barriers to employment. Understanding that with support and perseverance those barriers can be overcome can be difficult for customers to visualize.
On the flipside, our greatest successes have come in the former of business partnerships. Businesses in our region are seeking a "backbone" agency to lead them in addressing workforce development challenges and our agency is often seen as one that successfully does so.
I faced a communication issue with an agency that we were collaborating with to assist a mutual client. Our expectations and guidelines were misunderstood by this agency and that lead to confusion and frustration with client. I interfaced with the agency again and used better communication skills to present information to the agency and we resolved the issue there. To avoid this in the future I would try and consider how I communicate information rather than just present it in rote fashion.
I utilized critical thinking when determining how to best capture job seekers with our job fair events. I had worked on checking my assumptions and reflecting them against the factual realities of the workforce in certain regions. We have now created more targeted events with a wide range of industries and our attendance numbers have increased.
We had a meeting with a community agency that we work with regularly. One member of staff in that agency had a style of working that was incompatible with the needs of our clients and our 2 agencies. The conversation was difficult and not all stakeholders were heard nor was the meeting action-based. I think we could have had a more productive meeting by being action focused, proactive instead of reactive while engaging in active listening to really get to the core of why this might be happening.
In the future, I hope to sharpen my active listening skills and practice less reflecting to ensure the speaker feels like they are actively leading the conversation. I also think more detailed agendas should be utilized more often.
One leader that comes to mind is a member of leadership in my CSEA union. Between negative public perceptions of our agency, public officials trying to balance competing demands, and our own union members demanding wage increases, this leader within our union did 2 things to inspire others and motivate stakeholders.
First, he maintained transparency and communications with the individuals he was closest tied to: his union members. The issue at hand is wage increases, so there were strong opinions and the actions he took could affect the livelihoods of the people that elevated him to his position of leadership. He nevertheless took great care to communicate what was going on and union members respected him greatly for that.
Secondly, he exercised strong political acumen while working with the most important stakeholders in this fight for wage increases: the public officials that would eventually vote on it. Negotiations are still under way but his ability to maintain positive relationships and leverage that has allowed for great strides in helping get what our union members want.