Tips

WorkPlace Mentor Tip 1: Finding Willing Employers

Finding employers that are willing and able to work with you and your consumers can be time consuming and sometimes frustrating. However, there are some steps to improve your odds. Try incorporating some of these suggestions the next time you approach an employer about working with your organization.

Locating potential employers:

Check with your local Chamber of Commerce.
Visit www.ChamberofCommerce.com to find your local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for local business, as well as a professional networking association.

Contact your local Rotary Club.
Go to www.rotary.org to find a local Rotary Club chapter. Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders working to address community needs and promote peace and understanding.

Use personal contacts.

Do you know someone who owns or runs a business in town? Do you know someone who knows someone? Having a personal connection may not be a guarantee, but it certainly will help you get your foot in the door.

Try the “mom-and-pop” businesses in your area.

Smaller “mom-and-pop” businesses are often more flexible because the person working behind the counter may very well be the owner or person in charge. There are fewer levels of management to deal with, and therefore they may be more willing to try something new.

Publications from professional organizations.

Some professional organizations you belong to may have advertisements from businesses or donor/supporter lists included in their periodical publications. If these businesses talk-the-talk by advertising or supporting this organization, they are probably more likely to walk-the-walk as well.

Your approach:

Know something about the business.

Having some knowledge about the business before you walk in the door will result in greater credibility. This knowledge should include knowing the type of business (retail women's clothing; food service; telephone sales) as well as how they operate. For example, knowing that a restaurant is extremely busy at lunchtime can be very important in your efforts — because you know not to try to talk to the manager at that time.

Make sure you are talking to the person who makes the decisions.
Talking to employees who seem genuinely interested in what you do may be easy, but if you are not talking to the person who is able to make decisions for the business, you may be wasting your time. Be sure to find out who is in charge and make sure you speak directly to them.

Be sure to tell them what YOU can do FOR them.
Remember what business is all about. Businesses are more likely to be willing to participate if they are getting something out of the deal. Present yourself as a businessperson offering a service that can improve their business.

Leave behind a flyer or pamphlet that briefly explains who you are and what you do.
Your first visit to an employer is not likely to result in an agreement to work with you. Use that first visit to introduce the idea and to make a strong first impression. Then leave the employer with something that gives them all the information. Most employers will need to either think about it or consult with someone else. Giving them something they can refer back to will help them remember who you are.

Find out when is a good time to call back, then DO IT.

At the end of your first visit, make a plan with the employer. Find out how long they think they might need to consult or think about it. Tell them that you will contact them on a certain date or within a specific time frame – don’t just say you will be “in touch” or “I’ll call you soon”. Make a plan – and STICK TO IT. Persistence and professionalism are the keys!

What do YOU do to recruit employers? We would like to hear from you and share your successful techniques with the rest of the WorkPlace Mentor user community. Jot down your recruiting techniques and send them to wpmsupport@vri.org with the subject line “How we find employers”. Your techniques will be included on the WPM User Page in the future.

WorkPlace Mentor Tip 2: Employer-Friendly Interview Questions

Below are examples of Employer-Friendly interview questions based on Data Collection Form items.

WORKSITE INFO

Absolute DOs and DONTs for this worksite:
“Is there anything that is absolutely required or prohibited at this job? Such as wearing protective gear or not having your cell phone on.”

Work schedule:
"What days/hours are available for this job?"

Pay schedule:

“When is payday? Is that every week?”

Range of wages and benefits:

“What is the starting wage? Does the starting wage depend on skills or experience? Are there any benefits to the job (medical, dental, etc)?”

ENVIRONMENT

Exposure to radiation, chemicals, and explosives:
Will the employee have to work near any radiation (microwaves, cell towers), chemicals (cleaning solutions, bleach, gasoline), or explosives (gasoline, propane)?

Exposure to fumes:

Will the employee have to work around fumes (many chemicals give off fumes, gas ovens, hair products)?

TASK ANALYSIS

Task Description:
In 1-2 sentences, describe what the person does.
J80-What are the employer's quality & accuracy standards?

What does the employee need to do for you to consider their work up to company standards for quality and accuracy?

LEARNING & PERFORMING PHYSICAL DEMANDS

J80-What are the employer's quality & accuracy standards?
What does the employee need to do for you to consider their work up to company standards for quality and accuracy?

J69-Lift/Carry/Push/Pull:
Does any part of this job require the employee to lift anything? How much weight must an employee be able to lift? What do they have to do with the item once it is lifted (other movements?) Does the job require an employee to carry items from one location to another? Do items NEED to be carried, or do they just need to be transported? If transported, can that be done some way other than carrying? Are carts available? Does an employee need to be able to push or pull things on this job? What needs to be pushed or pulled? Is this occurring uphill or downhill?

J70-Climb/Balance/Stoop/Kneel/Crouch/Crawl:

Does any part of this job require the employee to maintain his balance? Does any part of this job require the employee to reach something low down by stooping down, crouching or kneeling to get at it? How long would the employee need to stay in that position? Does any part of this job require the employee to climb to get at something that is high up? Does any part of this job require the employee to crawl around on his hands and knees (such as in a confined space)?

SELF MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION

J2-Tell time & use time to regulate day: In this job, does the employee need to tell time in order to complete specific tasks on time? Are there any time sensitive functions that need to be carried out (i.e., preparing shipments for pick-up at a certain time)?

SPATIAL

J14-Describe layout of work area(s)/locations the worker must navigate. 

Does the employee need to maneuver around the work area? How is the work area setup or arranged? Describe the space that the employee will have to get around.
CRITICAL WORK BEHAVIORS

Dependability – JOB PERFORMANCE

J25-Continue to work in the absence of supervision:

At any point during a shift, will the employee need to work on his own without direct supervision? If working without supervision, where would the supervisor be? How frequently does this occur during a typical shift?

SOCIAL INTERACTION COMMUNICATION

J43-Express self clearly & efficiently:
To effectively do this job, does the employee need to communicate his thoughts, ideas, directions, etc. clearly and efficiently? How will the employee be communicating (oral/written)? Under what circumstances will the employee need to communicate with others?
The WorkPlace Mentor system provides several resources to help you learn more about employer-friendly questions and collecting the most comprehensive job information possible. Check them out!

WORKPLACE MENTOR USER GUIDE

Pages 27-32 describe the types of information that you should aim to collect in each section of the Data Collection Form.
Pages 128-139 provide definitions for EVERY item on the Data Collection Forms. If everyone on the team uses the same definition – your Job Analyses will be much more specific.

PUTTING THE MODEL IN MOTION

Pre-implementation Activity 4: Conducting an Employer-Friendly Job Analysis Interview
will help you think about how you can effectively gather Job Analysis information from employers.
Workbook activities 1-3:
These activities will allow you to practice recording data onto the forms, and help you increase your understanding of the information that should be gathered.
What are some of the questions YOU use to gather quality Job Analysis information from employers? Let us know by sending them to wpmsupport@vri.org.

WorkPlace Mentor Tip 4: Task Analysis

When analyzing a task and identifying the individual steps needed to complete the task, try to incorporate some of the following ideas.
DON’T just take the employer’s description of how the task should be done. Unless the employer actually DOES the task, he or she may not be 100% aware of how it is being performed, or may mistakenly leave out some steps.

Observe more than one person doing the task. It is critical that you actually observe the task being performed. However, if you base your task analysis on the way in which ONE employee performed it, you could get an incomplete or incorrect idea of how the task should be completed.
DO the task yourself. Completing the task following the steps you have identified can help you to identify gaps in your directions. It can also give you a better understanding of the exact functional demands of the job.
Teach someone how to do the task. This is where you will be able to judge the completeness and effectiveness of your task analysis. Someone else should be able to read the steps and do the task correctly.
Close your eyes and envision the steps being performed. Then compare your mental image with the steps you have recorded. Do they match?

WPM Tip 4: Recording comments and observations

Recording observations objectively is important because it focuses on describing functional behaviors. It is important to remember that you cannot observe thoughts, reasons, or emotions; you can only observe behaviors. When recording objective observations you must train yourself to concentrate only on the behavior. Instead of interpreting what you observe, you should simply and clearly record that which you actually see. You cannot observe what is going on in someone's mind, but you can observe and document his or her actions.
Any Job Analysis that is entered into the WPM Job Bank is a lasting record that will be used repeatedly over time with many consumers and by many practitioners. Therefore, your comments and observations should describe exactly what is supposed to happen on the job with enough detail so that someone who has not seen the behavior can visualize it.
When observing the consumer (whether for a consumer profile or in the situational assessment), you should record the antecedents and consequences, as well as the behavior itself. By recording and keeping track of what occurs prior to and following the behavior, you may discover patterns that could shed light upon factors that may impact it.

Some DOs and DON'Ts of objectively recording observations are:
DO record positive statements. "Jackie chopped the apples and the pears."
DON'T record negative statements or behavior you did not see. "Jackie did not chop all of the fruit."
DO record only the aspects of behavior that you can observe. "Diane had tears in her eyes after being reprimanded by her supervisor."

DON'T interpret an individual's behavior. "Diane gets upset when reprimanded by authority figures."
DO use comparison words only if they include a point of reference. "Evan climbed through an opening 3 feet wide by 4 feet high."
DON'T use "comparison" words with no point of reference. "Evan climbed through a small opening."
DO record "the facts" of the behavior. "Dave painted the chair and dripped paint on the floor."
DON'T use judgment words to describe a behavior. "Dave painted the chair sloppily."
DO record the antecedent and consequences of the behavior. "When coworkers were having a conversation near her desk, Debra stopped working and listened to their conversation until they walked away."
DON'T record only parts of the scenario. "Debra got distracted when coworkers were talking near her desk."