If you want your business to be successful, you must have loyal and hardworking employees — and you must work to keep them.
Virginia offers a variety of work-force programs to help employers find and train high-quality workers. Each program differs in eligibility, cost and services. A list of many work-force incentives in Virginia can be found at the Virginia Workforce Network website at vwn.vccs.edu.
Understand your local work force
It’s important to understand the quality of the work force in the area you plan to start your company, especially if you have a specialized business. The Virginia Employment Commission is a good place to begin.
The VEC provides detailed labor market and census data on its Virginia Electronic Labor Market Access (VELMA). The stats can be found online at http://www.vaemploy.com. Click on “Labor Market Information.” VELMA includes employment and unemployment statistics, current economic indicators, area demographics, and industry and occupational wage data.
Virginia Community Analysis Research & Development (VaCARD), a program run by Virginia Economic Bridge, provides specific business, community, economic and work-force analyses for companies. For information on the program, call (540) 731-6800.
Check out your local economic development offices to understand the demographics and skill sets of local employees. See if there are any local organizations that facilitate connecting workers with employers.
The VEC also provides businesses with hiring services free of charge. Employers can easily post job vacancies to the VEC’s Virginia Workforce Connection website at http://www.vaworkconnect.com. The site also allows employers to search through the list of job candidates.
Virginia Jobs Investment Program
This program, run by the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, offers work-force assistance to qualified businesses. The program provides customized training and recruiting programs. It also provides consulting and funding to reduce the upfront costs of recruiting and training workers. For-profit businesses eligible to apply for the program include manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, corporate headquarters, technology services, call centers and research and development facilities. http://www.dba.virginia.gov/vjip.shtml
The Virginia Community College System can be a great resource for an employer’s work-force training needs. Each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges has a Workforce Development Services division that can develop custom training programs for employers. The programs can be held at local community college campuses or at the employer’s workplace.
Visit http://www.vccs.edu for more information on the Virginia’s community college system.
Four-year schools and career and technical schools can also offer recruitment and work-force training possibilities. Visit your local schools for information on any programs they offer.
Creating a hiring plan
You might not have a designated human resources representative on staff, but it is vital that you establish hiring procedures to avoid the pitfalls that come from hiring a bad employee. This is especially important for small businesses, where each employee has a large share of responsibility for success of the company.
Make sure more than one person is involved in the interviewing process. You want many people to evaluate whether this person has the right qualities and skills needed for the job. In addition, don’t just check references provided by the applicant.
To streamline your hiring process, follow these steps:
- Create an established recruitment process.
- Make the benefits package easy to understand.
- Train managers and supervisors in interviewing techniques.
- Do multiple reference checks.
- Conduct a new-hire program.
WORKFORCE REFERENCE WEBSITES
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov
U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov
U.S. Department of Commerce http://www.commerce.gov
U.S. Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov
Virginia Department of Social Services http://www.dss.virginia.gov
Virginia AFL-CIO http://www.va-aflcio.org
Virginia Department of Aging http://www.vda.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Education http://www.doe.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry http://www.doli.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Professional and Occupation Regulation http://www.dpor.virginia.gov
Virginia Employment Commission http://www.vaemploy.com
Virginia’s Job Investment Program http://www.dba.state.va.us/vjip.shtml
Virginia Rehabilitation Services http://www.vadrs.org
Virginia Workforce Connection http://www.vaworkconnect.com
Virginia Workforce Council http://www.vwc.virginia.gov
Virginia Workforce Network http://www.vwn.virginia.gov
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