Moderator Stephen MacDonald, Ohio ERN and Impact Coalition Manager for Lucas County Family and Children First Council, joined the Toledo Chamber alongside panelists Traci Jaksetic, Shared Success Lead Agency and Vice President for Lutheran Social Services of Northwest Ohio; Latanya Ridley, Shared Success ERN Success Coach of the Lutheran Social Services of Northwest Ohio; Matthew Siebert, Shared Success ERN employer member and HR manager for First Hospitality Group, Renaissance Hotels; and Lisa Smith, Ohio ERN and Impact Coalition Project Coordinator for Lucas County Family Council.
There are currently six up-and-running ERNs in Ohio, with two in Lucas County and a seventh in development now.
“ERNs are a solution to recruitment, attendance and retention problems in your employee workforce,” says MacDonald. “We address barriers that prevent employees from getting to work and staying at work. … Basically, the nuts and bolts of this is that employers join forces and pay for the time of a shared employee whose job it is to keep all of their employees on the job.”
Simply stated, success coaches in ERNs help employees in showing up to work as their own best selves. If your employee is facing issues at home, whether that’s housing instability, food insecurity, reliable transportation or any array of barriers, you can refer them to your ERN success coach to step in and assist the employee in accessing the resources they need to solve the issue. This results in a happier employee who feels more secure in their home life and, therefore, their career.
Siebert kicked off the session with an anecdote of his own; he received a call from a manager about “workplace drama.” One employee was showing up late due to family concerns, another’s car broke down multiple times in a weekend and a third sometimes chose not to show up to work altogether. So, Siebert asked himself, why is this happening?
“The answer, you already know it, because you thought it, and I thought it, I once believed it: ‘These people don’t want to work. They’re lazy. They just want a paycheck for doing nothing. They aren’t committed, they don’t care,’” says Siebert. “We say these things to ourselves and at some point we begin to believe it, and then it becomes an inherent bias. But it isn’t true.”
Siebert says these things happen when problems at home spread into the workplace, and it spreads like a wildfire. And most times, it’s not because the person you hired is bad at their job or doesn’t actually care, it’s that they have problems at home that are going unaddressed and get bad enough to affect their work life. That’s the goal of the ERN: to be a long-term and sustainable problem solver.
On any given day, Ridley says, she deals with everything from housing issues like eviction prevention to childcare insufficiencies – anything that is preventing an employee from showing up to work “with their mind in the right place,” Ridley says. She also makes sure that the employee just knows she is there. Even if a given employee doesn’t need her one moment doesn’t mean they might not in the future.
With a resource such as an ERN, business leaders can ensure their employees are happy and secure in their personal lives, leading to better success in the workplace. More secure employees lead to more productive and happier employees, keeping turnover low and retention high.
Check out the recording of Talent Resource Week session Skyrocket Your Culture, Keep Costs Grounded below to learn price estimates of joining an ERN, more about what success coaches can do for your employees and about how an ERN can save your business money by keeping turnover low.