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by Pam Oliwa
Rapid Response Coordinator, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s Rapid Response and Layoff Aversion Programs have been focusing on partnership development with the Human Resource Association Chapters (Affiliates of the Society for Human Resource Management) since 2009. Our goals were to increase education and awareness, as well as stakeholder utilization of Layoff Aversion and Rapid Response programs and services. Partnership activities included presentations at Chapter meetings throughout the state; participation at the annual State Human Resource Conference; and inclusion in various media outlets for members. This work has not occurred quickly or without challenges. However, with leadership and direction of the Employee Retention Project Manager, Fran Allain, strong partnerships were developed and continue to serve the businesses and workers of New Hampshire.
New Hampshire’s efforts blended traditional methods for partnership building along with a customer-centric model. Initial outreach was directed to state and chapter-based leadership with offers to speak at chapter meetings to provide program overviews and literature. Networking and personal connecting to learn about the organization and the needs of its membership occurred as well. The result was a two-part strategy focused on efficient transfer of information and building relationships for the long-term.
The first strategy recognized 2 core concepts - that everyone’s time is extremely limited and valuable, and that the natural tendency is to view programs & information as static and not requiring updates or future interaction. There was an intrinsic need to emphasize the tangible value of current and future presentations, continuing education, and involvement for stakeholders. Understanding these concerns as well as the fact that professionals are bombarded by information and time requests daily, a presentation was developed that offered ‘continuing education credits’ for participants. This added concrete value for workshop participation and generated improved participation levels with on-going program education and awareness.
The second strategy was directed at the theme of long-term relationship building, and the need for planning, preparation, and patience. As with any long-term relationship, it needed to be built on trust, mutual value, and personal connections over time. One example of this was the Chapter Speaker Schedule. Many Chapters design their ‘guest speaker list’ at least one year in advance, which decreases speaking/presenting opportunities. Being patient and cheerfully present (without becoming a ‘presentation stalker’) can provide unexpected opportunities to fulfill emergency speaker requests. Providing this type of seamless professional assistance provides instant credibility in the Rapid Response and Layoff Aversion programs. It can also be a great start of an effective relationship.
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