America Needs More Workers

May 20, 2019 Posted under Open Hiring

We are seeing record-low levels of unemployment in this country and businesses are taking notice.  There are 0.8 unemployed workers for each job opening in the U.S.  Current figures suggest there are 7.5 million unfilled job openings (up from 5.6 in 2017) and this is costing businesses money as productivity suffers and overtime is paid to fill the gaps.

Fortunately, we have recently seen a handful of progressive businesses taking steps to unlock talent in their communities by recruiting those who traditionally face barriers to employment. An article in WSJ, ‘Don’t Want to See Him Fail’, highlighted the hiring strategy of Progressive Coating, LLC in Chicago which supports the formally incarcerated. Greyston Bakery has been unlocking talent in Southwest Yonkers, New York for over 30 years using a model we call Open Hiring®. We upend traditional hiring practices by eliminating expensive steps in the recruiting process that filter people out of the workforce – interviews, background checks, credit checks – and focus our spending on trainings and professional development to make sure everyone at Greyston is a success.

Open Hiring is the alignment of business needs with the needs of the employees and with the needs of the community. We are a competitive business operating a world-class commercial bakery producing seven million pounds of brownies each year for customers like Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods Market and Delta Air Lines. Open Hiring creates opportunities and provides hope for the millions of people in our society that are wanting to work but unable to get the chance.

What we do at Greyston is about good business and caring for people. At Greyston, inclusion is the core of our Open Hiring model. Open Hiring creates opportunities for everyone: women, men, people of color, people of all faiths and sexual orientations, immigrants and refugees, the economically disadvantaged, the formerly incarcerated and all others who may have been excluded or blocked from contributing to the health and strength of our society. No one who is willing to work should be denied the dignity of a job. Any business concerned about a lack of workers has the opportunity to tap into the hundreds of capable team members in your community just waiting for the opportunity to prove themselves.

Creating an inclusive hiring strategy is no longer just a nice idea for a values-driven organization, but a critical component to human capital plans for a growing business. In 2018, we launched The Center for Open Hiring at Greyston, recently recognized as a 2019 World Changing Idea by FastCompany, to support businesses on their hiring journeys. We have the answer to the question, “how do I find new talent in my community,” and it is our mission to share this answer to create a more inclusive economy for all. Companies as big as JP Morgan Chase and as diverse as Progressive Coating in Chicago and CleanCraft in Rochester, NY, are taking action. Now more than ever, all leaders need to be of the mindset that human capital innovation is essential for the growth of our economy.

Open Hiring is here to help solve the problem of America needing more workers. We envision a world where responsible businesses collaborate with communities to create inclusive economies. We envision a world where business assets are deployed more effectively to generate a return on investment that benefits the company, its employees and its community. We envision a world where we recognize that everyone – from CEOs to day laborers – needs support to succeed on the job and to also be a responsible family and community member. We are here to help.

Mike Brady